Thursday, August 02, 2018

Lindsay Turner, Songs & Ballads


and then Sunday we went to see
the forest by the lake the new forest
the low forest the after-dinner forest the for-profit forest
the forest upwards beside the deep dark
dark forest don’t tell me what I’ll remember
or regret later forest we saw
the forest
of reminders the forest turned
to countings mansions exhibitions
expositions the old floor glorious
fading in sun the carpets forest
we went to see in the car growing into our projections forest
darker the dark strip in the lake the forest projecting an illusion
forest depth
projected onto our real depth the lake showing
the dark the dark forest the forest
decided the forest
planted for the futures forest
that doesn’t accrue forest planted to grow
into what doesn’t exist now forest
of futures forest
on Sunday getting darker forest deforested
landing the new forest makes it
worth it light left now in the forest
standing up

Greenville, South Carolina poet and translator Lindsay Turner’s full-length poetry debut is the collection Songs & Ballads (Brooklyn NY: The Prelude Press LLC, 2018). Songs & Ballads weaves together lovely elements of prose and lyric, writing the lake and the woods, composing songs that work against the distance between humanity and nature. Turner mourns the erosion of what she praises, and her songs lament and praise in turns seductive, sensual and jarring. As she writes in the poem “SONG OF THE TOWNS”: “Water water everywhere // But thinking does not make it so // The grave officials say, / shore up the bottom line.” The idea of the “song” holding a series of truths, histories and commentaries is, obviously, one of the oldest methods of record-keeping and composition, and Turner writes her own Songs & Ballads with that in mind, combined with a deeply engaged ecopoetic. As she asks: how does the heart continue, when the earth can no longer sustain itself, let alone the body?

woke myself up saying this is the worst movie I have ever seen, before that in the dream the patriarch had fired the boy who had tasted his food for toxins so we knew it was the end of that house with its windows open above a prime curve of the sea, it’s possible that “worst” was supposed to have been “saddest”


but how to make them see the ballad in all this, like it’s me, like a companion interlocutor or elderly relative, the four beats with all our hands held around them like several people holding a small heavy alarm clock, like the particles washed off into the lakes but still cardinal, get in things, could damage, could produce (“SONG OF VISUAL DIFFICULTY”)

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