Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Braid: Mini-Review

A poem that thinks its way toward itself, a poem 
     beginning with
the letter "a," poem assuming the worst, as
     well as the best that the purpose is lost
         but can be found, that it does not know itself
     but can, that when it arrives there, trembling.
~from "Braid"

Braid is my second voyage into Roger Mitchell's poetry.  Unfortunately, this collection doesn't resonate with me quite like that first book (The Word for Everything).  Each of the three long poems in this collection start out quite strong (see opening of "Braid" above), but each of them devolve into odd, stream-of-consciousness writing where it seems that anything and everything can pop up into the poem no matter how unrelated to the apparent theme or even the previous image.  Even "For the Moment"--which holds its theme of the transient life of the Morning Warbler better than than the other two manages to bring in odd images of ping pong and tenement rooftops among the moments in nature.

There are some spectacular descriptions and images here, but not enough rhythm and cohesion within the poems to keep me interested.  I found my attention wandering quite often within each of the three poems.  Two stars.

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