Monthly Archives: September 2011

How Repetition does not = Truth

Ken Cuccinelli spoke to ODU’s College Republicans Friday night.  They did not publicize the visit very well, but AltDaily’s John McManus did cover it.  McManus did not offer any critique of Mr. Cuccinelli’s words, but  one thing that struck me in the transcription is the following:

“It’s clear: the Founding Fathers believed the foundation, the source of the rights they were trying to protect, was God.”

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The Burn of Seeing

It’s a Sisyphean task, taking the responsibility to convey all the movement and humanity that Cynthia Marie Hoffman attempts in Sightseer. There are so many things one must choose to leave out, and it is the left out which compels in her collection. How many collections worth of material was she able to mine from these excursions, to bring back to us in the new history side of the world? And will she find herself written into a corner if she keeps exploiting them, or like a responsible miner, shut the mineshaft down? Despite all of what was left out, the keen gaze Hoffman exerts on her chosen subjects, many of them religious artifacts, asks the reader to step past the gate and down to the below surface as in the poem “On the Western Coast of Anglesey, the Tourists” (59-60) while at the same time requesting the assertion of gaze at those two women on the beach in their hiking boots.

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Reflection Through the Stonecutter’s Window

Indigo Moor’s collection, for an eighty-page group, feels as though he has written several separate collections. All four sections read easily on their own, almost as if a chapbook, and this makes me question the poet’s decision to present them as a cohesive unit, as opposed to collected chapbooks. For example, the section “Daybreak” focuses on long (two to three page), slender poems with some creative indentation, and what must be a variety of ekphrasis, although the dedications and other ephemera do not always provide clarity to this. “Midday,” on the other hand, offers a series of ekphrastic poems in response to one painting, and which offer an equal split between controlled couplets and more free-formed poems as in “Daybreak.” The final section in Moor’s collection, “Dusk,” contains a series of longer poems which border on stream-of-consciousness, though they are more controlled than that. From this wide perspective, as a reader, I am left confused as to the reasoning of these seemingly arbitrary delineations.

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Reading the Writing of Love

Kim Addonizio’s What is this Thing Called Love reaches through the looking glass.

If that is not clear enough, where a confessional poet’s version of these poems might harp on the “woe is me” shtick, Addonizio manages to allow the reader to experience these poems as though they come from inside, and not from the page.  So, not that we are reading a memoir, but experiencing all the love offered to us.  Even reminding the reader in a subtle way of other personal experiences.  Sometimes, I can almost imagine being the speaker.  Whether that is a fault of Addonizio’s writing, or my own empathy, I do not know; but I have an understanding, a connaissance, that is drawn out by the poems in this collection.

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A New Draft (an excerpt)

Disclaimer: I don’t normally post poems here, because I feel that they have a much better chance at legitimacy if they live a long revision life and see the light of publication in a real venue, not my own blog… However, because of the nature of this poem and my slight intoxication, I have decided to request feedback over the internets, which are known for their fair and balanced opinions.

Written tonight, this draft is rant-y, and liberal.  I post because I want feedback, but I’m not entirely sure about the politics…

**edit: if it seems cut-off, it is.  This is the first third (about) of the poem**

See for yourself after the jump.

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