Thursday, April 4, 2013

Megan Kaminski's Desiring Map (Coconut Books)

Composed as a series of four long poems, Megan Kaminski's new book Desiring Map (Coconut Books) meditates on the embodied I/eye and the ground of its condition: a language of reverie, it is densely constructed of images drawn from the landscapes of their origin -- Florida, the northwest coast, and, dominantly, the Kansas plains.  These poems direct the reader's eye along an "estuarial intent" across "snips of nodding aster and cow lily," over fields of "silky prairie clover...[and] sand verbena". "An atlas of trees in far away fields" signaling to us, her poems catalog the human and natural worlds, holding them up for us to see each anew. Deployed within a rich vocabulary of slipping registers, the poet composites a new textural space from myriad sources: lyric language, natural history, Spanish phrases, slang, technical jargon, and archaisms, recuperating language as a means of recuperating landscape.  Kaminsky assures us, "yesterday nothing was unusual." Indeed, her language is neither more nor less strange than the "spring rains....[which] remind us of the speaking world."

                 lawns stretch ready around
small bodies caught in orbit
each afternoon contains a pause
waiting for our pulse to break

Within the pages of this Desiring Map, Kaminski offers poems of witness to "beauty as it decomposes," a world breaking open upon the leaves of her book. She warns us, "if I am to speak of them I must leave / the body        this place     this tongue."  Departures of a geographical desire seeking its ground, these poems return the strange loveliness of the world to us, while we "turn soft and dark and eat raw persimmons" by their light.  

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