Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Melissa Eleftherion, Field guide to autobiography


my heart-shaped secretion
my exposed symmetry
a specimen

in the sediment buried alive

bilateral suction
a siphon

i am edible in shapes

The author of numerous poetry chapbooks, Northern California poet Melissa Eleftherion’s first full-length poetry collection is Field guide to autobiography (H_NGM_N Books, 2017), a collection made up of short sketch-poems in three sections: “auto/,” “/bio” and “field graph [no guide].” The short poems of Field guide to autobiography are rife with a sense of play and the visual field of the page, sketching a quickness of phrase, deft turns and halting language. Utilizing details and influence from published field guides to trigger poems blending other elements of information, including biographical, the poems in Field guide to autobiography do have a sense of rushed movement, nearly breathlessly so, streaking across each page like a meteor shower; or, as she writes in the poem “sea cucumber”:

            spines buried deep

      tentacles grown over and again

            a skeleton mouth

            to grab the crumbs

            to be inside a body

            there is a fur

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