Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Helen Dimos, No Realtor Was Compensated For This Sale

I stand before a wall. This wall extends infinitely in either direction and is of course located outside.

A wall that used to be one-foot wide. Is now razor-thin. So thin I can see through it. But not, for reason of its thinness, weaker. May even be stronger.

The desire to pass through the wall.

To the other side. (“THE WALL”)

I’m fascinated by the poems in Helen Dimos’ first full-length collection, No Realtor Was Compensated For This Sale (The Elephants, Ltd., 2017), a collection gathered, it would seem, as much as constructed. Built in five sections—“THE WALL,” “DEAR NOBODY,” “POEMS,” “LANGUAGE OF THE PORES” and “DEAR NOBODY”—the poems in No Realtor Was Compensated For This Sale allow for the sketched-out line—the fragment, the shift and the expansive canvas—creating a book-length work of remarkable nuance and strength, attempting the minutiae of language and the world as part of far larger questions. In sections that shift structurally from a long poem constructed from stanza-fragments and clear statements, a suite of ekphrasic pieces, a collection of lyrics and a short script of scenes, Dimos’ poems feel both restless and incredibly clear, relentless and flawlessly casual, writing and writhing deep into the heart of just about everything. As she writes to open the fourth section: “Is it the language of the pores that can take the shape of molecules?”

Dear nobody

I go to dinner with a writer in Athens. We talk about literature. We talk about politics. We talk about literature. We talk about Greek politics but I’m not sure it matters. ‘It’s more rewarding to talk about literature’ he says as I propped up my face with my hand? While talking of Tsipras. —Maybe more rewarding which isn’t the right word anyway but speaking of literature the world opens acquires endlessness while talk of politics clicks the world shut not the shut-ness of closure but dead-shut, despair

This is totally and completely wrong

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