Wednesday 8 June 2011

Katherine Larson's Radial Symmetry (Yale UP, 2011), take 2

On 29 May, my review of Radial Symmetry appeared in The Independent. Here are some passages I admired. (NB: Often the spacing has been regularized, as I haven't been able to figure out how to do complicated spacing on Blogger--tuition welcome!)

And memory
which outruns the body and
grief which arrests it.

the end of "Statuary"

And a sun so round it might exhale.


There are days that walk through me
and I cannot hold them.

from "The Gardens in Tunisia"

The smell of sunlight
fading from the stones. Quietness that's solitude

but not isolation.

from "Lake of Little Birds"

The singing of the blind school
children and the
Mediterranean's flat expanse are metaphors

for every kind of solitude made
forgivable by time.
The hillside museum with rows of empty

earthen vessels is full of it. A stillness
so replete
it resembles something like intimacy.

opening of "Water Clouds"

I don't pretend to imagine the lives of women tending oyster crates
in estuaries at the edge of Sonora.

It's enough to follow the hand-painted sign of a mermaid
peeling and peeling in the sand.

"Ghost Nets," opening of section IV

We emerge from the pale nets of sleep like ghost shrimp
in the estuaries--
The brain humming its electric language.

Touching something in a state of becoming.

"Ghost Nets," end of section VII

All that quiet. Like dreaming you're standing on water
but not hearing the water.

"Ghost Nets," from section VIII

The stillness enough
to hear pistol shrimp snap in the tide pools.

Each time the intimacy becomes greater, the vocabulary less.

"Ghost Nets," end of section X

as pages of Braille.

Memory. The invention
of meaning. Our minds with deeps
where only symbols creep.

"Ghost Nets," from section XI

Not equilibrium, but buoyancy. A hallway
with a thousand human brains carved out of crystal.
Quiet prisms until the sunlight hits.

end of "Metamorphosis"

You can buy Radial Symmetry from The Book Depository.

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