Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Review: Temporary Yes
3 Stars - Recommended to poetry fans
Publisher: Artistically Declined Press
Happy publication day to Kat Dixon and her newest collection of poetry, Temporary Yes, which sports what is quite possibly THE loveliest book cover I have ever laid eyes on.
In it, Kat masterfully manipulates the English language, creating confusing and beautiful verses that surge through innumerable emotional boundaries.
Her words acted like a visual trigger, invoking an image. When you read this line - "fingers surgically laced through someone else's fingers"... - it's nearly impossible not to visualize it, right? What do you see? (I picture two people, so desperate for one another that they have their clasped hands stitched together, finger to finger, grinning madly through the pain as the needle and thread join them to one another, permanently and irrevocably...)
Other times, I found her words produced a more visceral reaction. I felt this line - "when morning comes, I'll be there sewn into the neck of your undershirt. Breathing"... - like a punch in the kidneys. It made me draw a breath. It made me feel something. Sure, you could visualize that line as well, but I definitely felt it first.
There's a comfortable repetition that weaves its way in and out of her poetry - themes or words that she returns to, like the two verses I've just discussed both mentioning "stitching" - and it's interesting to note how such similar things can cause such diverse reactions.
Yet, more times than not, I'm afraid that I wasn't clear on the message or the meaning behind the poems. This meant that the visceral and visual responses were less immediate or sometimes not there at all. Certainly, her poetry revolves around love and the crazy feelings it can stir within us and I found quite a few verses that simply drew my breath away and left me stunned... but I fear that a lot of what Kat was trying to say was lost on me.
Sometimes the strange word combinations threw me off and brought to mind those poetry refrigerator magnets that contained a variety of odd words that wouldn't normally be found together in a sentence. For example - "Who would whisper anything but inaccuracies in the yellow of an undoing?" and "Without pulling up the kitchen tiles to stow away the excess organs, something is bound to lose its polka dots." A lover of poetry, I am. Skilled in the art of deciphering, I am not.
But don't let my review get in the way of you getting to know Kat and her poetry. View this as a challenge. Go out and read it, experience it for yourself. Then come back so we can compare lines like this one... "and each goodbye is another way of falling asleep" and this one... "every shape of my mouth is something stolen"... because they contain so much within them that must be brought out.