Thursday, September 22, 2022

Jody Gladding, I entered without words: poems


Vermont poet and translator Jody Gladding’s fifth full-length poetry collection, and the first of hers I’ve seen, is I entered without words: poems (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 2022), a collection, as the cover copy offers, was “Composed and printed in a landscape format, these minimal, quiet, playful, meditative, and open-ended poems are experimental in form and inviting in subject.” The structure Gladding works in her book-length suite is one visually similar to the ongoing “daybook” project by Jessica Smith [see my review of her most recent volume here], but one more centred in the meditative lyric, with the added element of offering specific words in bold or italics, alternating fonts and even in French. The words in bold offer a particular through-line to the narrative, as though the remaining words are a collage to be read in no particular order, circling around that central line. The effect is curious, offering a visual narrative thread, but one that hints at the polyphonic nature of lyric, offering multiple sounds and voices simultaneously, overlapping in a declarative and even urgent calm. The poems are scattershot, imagistic and paralleled, portion through different type.


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