Tuesday, May 22, 2007

SOMEHOW by BURT KIMMELMAN

WILLIAM A. SYLVESTER Reviews

SOMEHOW by Burt Kimmelman
(Marsh Hawk Press, 2005)

Kimmelman’s Ut Pictura

On re-reading Burt Kimmelman's title poem for his book SOMEHOW, I was struck by a strange sense of "process", of "nature" as physically--identically--"human".

The poem begins in what sounds like a familiar "genre"--a cold February, a bird is singing "into the thin/early/light"--almost like rough indications for a painting, a still life, or Nature Morte.

And there is indeed an implied "still life", but it's not "morte". It's quite active, an activity imposed through human imagination: "red/ and blue flecks/incising the/day" The birds are calling to each other and become "raucous/gangs seizing/territory" so that in its entirety the poem enacts a subtle shift from the potentially "prettified" scene to intimations of settled aggression"

so that
in this most
unforgiving

world their
insistence
is all there is.

From "thin light" to "insistence"--an illuminating insistence emerges and is modulated by the extraordinary interplay of lines and space in the rhythmic patterns in a single sentence.

SOMEHOW

Somehow
though the cold
February

a bird
is singing
into the thin

early
light, its trill
then another

among
the branches
empty but for

the red
and blue flecks
incising the

day and
very soon
the riotous

raucous
gangs seizing
territory

so that
in this most
unforgiving

world their
insistence
is all there is.


*****

William A. Sylvester has published in magazines like Poetry, A Magazine of Verse, Western Humanities Review, Iowa Review, and more recently in splendid new magazines like Stacy Szymaszki's gam (lc, yes) and Michael Slosek's Drill, later incorporated into small_machines.

1 Comments:

At 12:19 AM, Blogger EILEEN said...

Another view is offered by William Allegrezza in GR #2 at:

http://galatearesurrection2.blogspot.com/2006/05/somehow-by-burt-kimmelman.html

 

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