Tuesday, January 17, 2006

rife by Stefanie Marlis

My professor loaned me this book, and I have to admit, I was skeptical. Our poetics are very different. The poetry in here is narrative, which surprised me. I'm a narrative poetry girl. The poems are avant-garde in a very calm way. Several of the poems in the book start out as definitions to words like "rife" and lead on in a prose poem to mean something more solid than a definition could possibly cover.

Ronald Wallace writes that Marlis' work is "a world of departures and returns, losses and recoveries, where wry indirection, nuance and detail, a bell-like delicacy, prevail." I love that, "bell-like delicacy." There is a true sense of loss emanating from the poetry, but the loss is never outlined so as to be made a solid definable anguish. It is simply felt in the hopefulness of the speaker that times will change and that in the end, everything will be okay.

I think this is exactly what I needed to read today, and I am grateful that my professor saw fit to loan me this book.

Here is a small sample, should anyone be interested:

by Stefanie Marlis

to the same world:
light breeze, small
northern California
town, springtime--
once again pink
flowerettes pinned
to the hawthorn,
soon the explosion
of catkins on the buckeye,
sometimes it seems
getting nowhere--
with spiritual
or material life,
though one night
a cloud of dimes
circles the bed
and the next a dream
about forgiving.

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