Sina Queyras

if you open your mouth, ache.

MRB on MxT

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Thanks to Bert Almon for the love.

The great strength of the book is not in the apparatus – circuit diagrams, tutelary figures – but in the texture. Queyras employs many forms: prose poems, poems in stanzas, representations of postcards, aphorisms (“All mature poets understand the need for dry wood chips”), found poems, concrete poetry. The tour de force is “Elegy Written in a City Cemetery”: each of its 53 lines paraphrases another poet’s elegy and has a footnote. The sources are extraordinarily wide-ranging, from Tibullus to Coleridge to some of the author’s contemporaries, and she clearly knows the elegiac tradition. Queyras alludes to Anne Carson, whose Nox is also an elegy for a sibling, and one of the most ambitious works of our time. “Anne Carson is a footnote in the biography of death. Few of us get a mention,” she writes. Queyras does deserve her own footnote in the tradition of elegy for this ambitious and moving book.

Read the entire review here.

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