Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Gillian Parrish, supermoon


so many layers to a city
dog yelp and yellow leaves

young one come to find old friends
stood on the stoop    black rain falling under his eye

300 killed in the temple of helpers
(tales of angels hidden in our organs)

left his number for the neighbor
among roses be a rose    among thorns be a thorn
(“fikr series”)

St. Louis, Missouri poet and editor Gillian Parrish’s second full-length collection, following of rain and nettles wove (San Diego CA: Singing Horse Press, 2018), is supermoon (Singing Horse Press, 2020), a book structured in nine sections of individual lyrics or lyric suites—“mother song,” “fikr series,” “solstice series,” “empty-full series,” “moomin series,” “spacetime series,” “mothership series,” “embedded series” and “dawn song.” As part of the “Notes” that close the collection, she writes: “The poems unfolded as something like rengas with the day, working inside out and outside in.” There is something of the accumulated lyric fragment in Parrish’s lines, akin to the ongoing work of Fanny Howe: how each lyric moment pauses, holds and assembles together across a vast distance. The poems are quiet, even understated. “supermoon day tornado rest day day of perfect light,” she writes, to open “empty-full series,” “slow blue and gold shadows on the snow // dream-cleaned toilets again in a derelict house / (‘because we learn that shit happens, happens, happens’)[.]”

Her influence of Japanese forms are curious, and her lines do give the impression of quick, meditative sketches moving from point to point, association to association, seemingly free-roaming without direct connection, but for what the larger portrait slowly reveals. “another night hiding the children from harm,” she writes, to open “moomin series,” “leaping pain in the chest all day // starlings swollen by snow/ so many stormy situations // give you my life / ‘the pyre is growing’ // missile alert: a human error / Lady of the Cold [.]”


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