Thursday, January 19, 2023

Meredith Stricker, REWILD


How the Invisible sanctuaries sight
    the infinitely small
preserves us (fission-stained)
    from ourselves, from our burrowing into the visible
    like weevils in spilled flour who would unhusk
every atom, crack open every geode, leave nothing dark
and hidden and its own


                the sound of eagles over the Mississippi
       a biplane               treefrogs at dusk

                                           o star fall (“UNDERTOW”)

I’m very pleased to be able to move deeper through American artist and poet Meredith Stricker’s “cross-genre media” work, specifically through her recent poetry title, REWILD (North Adams MA: Tupelo Press, 2022). REWILD follows an array of prior collections, including Alphabet Theater (Wesleyan University Press, 2003), Tenderness Shore (LSU Press, 2003), mistake (Caketrain Press, 2012), Our Animal (Omnidawn, 2017) and Anemochore (Newfound Press, 2018). This is a collection that splices genre across the lyric, layering details of narrative, memoir, fragment and essay, providing echoes that provide her lyric such fine texture. Through four sections of fractured, staggered lyrics—“STARING INTO THE ATOM,” “ASHES,” “DARK MATTER” and “”UNBUY YOURSELF”—Stricker explores open questions on capitalism, science, language, human history and environmental concerns, offering a lyric of such precise movement and quick wit, propelled across of points of crafted acceleration. There is something of Stricker’s assemblage of blended genre reminiscent of the work of American poet Lori Anderson Moseman, specifically her poetry collection DARN (Delete press, 2021) [see my review of such here], working to blend from such myriad shapes and sources into a similar kind of collage. There is something of the visual use of space on the page and the staggered fragment that both poets seem to share, also. Time moves differently across Stricker’s lyric, it would seem; a pacing that steps, stops, leaps and staggers while simultaneously propulsive, even across staggers that read like steps, such as the ending to the short poem “I’M MAKING AN INVENTORY / OF THE WORLD,” that reads:

yellow flowered fennel covered in road dust
you can’t pay for the dust, it comes for free
the roar of crickets on a back road –
what would you pay for this
night and its impenetrable
avalanche of stars

There is such impulse through the work of this collection, one that presents an urgency as well as a clarity, simultaneously through form and through concerns around the impact of ongoing human conflict and environmental plunder. “how lucky when the wind turned and the scent was lost,” she writes, as part of the poem “DARK MATTER,” “the wind that rushes now insensate through interstate / exchanges, dear fleet-foot, you gave us everything / and you were always coursing bright and red [.]”


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