Monday, August 27, 2012

In the Bee Latitudes, ‘Annah Sobelman



The Mess

and yes it was spreading our legs to
heart ‘ s desire , I was sure ,—
A year of one idea ,   toward spring –
A casual
insomnia .
But an  underbrush exploded .

 You open  its   year-long window   it doesn ‘ t  show much –
Some humans ! drown and
 alternately sleep –   you drown ,   toward spring ,   you sleep

That ‘ s  the  thing ,      your  neck stretched  way past your  body
lethal     , the stretch –
It ‘ s all  happening  without  witness .
Mothers  around the world
   complain .
Fathers  in the  economy cafe  drink  pink cocktails
      past noon .
Your computer ‘ s always breaking . You duct-
tape  it .
The landscape   doesn ‘ t show
itself  to you .

There is such a magnificent spacing in the poems of American poet ‘Annah Sobelman, in her second trade poetry collection, In the Bee Latitudes (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 2012). Sobelman uses punctuation nearly as visual cues, altering a lexicon what of punctuation often is to what it could actually be. Who else would use two commas at the end of a line? Marvellous, really. It’s as though she is aware of punctuation in poetry as a medium unto itself, the space and the sparse and the parse of spacing. One only hopes she reads with the same breaks and spacings her texts display. 

In her In the Bee Latitudes, Sobelman utilizes a series of insect-like smallnesses, incorporating sentence and word fragments nearly to the point of collage, reminiscent of Toronto poet a. rawlings’ Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists (Toronto ON: Coach House Books, 2006), or even Toronto poet/publisher Jay MillAr’s magnificent chapbook, Sporadic Growth:being a third season of 26 fungal threads (Vancouver BC: Nomados, 2006). One wonders, what do these fragments work to achieve in their accumulations? Sobelman composes an expansive exploration towards understanding bees, bats and other subjects that she manages to shift into lavish abstracts disguised as poem-essays. Or is it the other way around?

After Awhile

         what      breaks      into
sentence  structure
  joins   friends

  the  bitterness  this  morning
             singing
sing    the  childless
  heart-stopping       ,    stop    .

what         your   depression
  felt    like     ,
  your     drowned
            tower

suddenly
above      water      .

i  can  tell  you  what     it     is
 not –


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