1Everything will be made new.
The precision couplingand uncoupling,
the studiedblockingand folding
have already begun.
2Stillness of gauzy curtains
and the soundof distant vacuums.
Prolonged sighof traffic
and the downwardcurve of fronds.
The sprayof all possible paths.
In her tenth trade poetry collection, Money Shot (Middletown CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011), San Diego poet Rae Armantrout proves yet again she is an author of poems of unusual stillness (not necessarily calm) and unusual pauses (while never hesitation).
Quick, before you die,describe
the exact shadeof this hotel carpet. (“Exact”)
From what I've seen of Armantrout's poetry collections (which have been, admittedly, only been the most recent three of her ten) are built as books of small moments; moments compiled into short poems, which are then compiled into book-length structures. The poems in her Money Shot ask questions of authority and the self, of how the United States/west is considered and not considered, within and without its borders; of market concerns, and the “'great recession' of 2008-2009” (as the inside blurb tells us). Money Shot, in the still hush of polished steps, provides astute questions and commentary from the immediacy of Armantrout's surroundings, including news stories of “Ponzi schemes” and the constant deluge of CNN. These are poems engaged with the world, and constructed through strict attention, in poems composed through a combination of discovery and an incredible level of patient, articulate and considered craft.
After John Milton
Our light is never spent.Is spent.
Thus have we scooped outmaceration reservoirs.
We will blaze forthwhat remainsas pixels.
Great angelsfly at our behestbetween towers,
along axons and dendrites,
so that things standas they stand
in the recruited present.