Issue 96 |

The Return Message by Tessa Rumsey


The Return Message, poems by Tessa Rumsey (Norton): The foremost organizing principal of this fascinating second volume is the manner in which Rumsey pairs poems beneath shared titles and erects a dialogue between the shorter, pastoral poems that occupy the left pages and the longer, cityscape poems on the right. The dense scent of wisteria spills over into a metallic, mesmerizing city-of-self the speaker has erected: "We were in collusion, this city and I, creating a mythology of desolation . . ." Encoded in the complex and lush weave of language that characterizes these poems is a narrative of despair, loss, obsession, and paradoxical blossoming: " To lead you, said the clock, said the lover, we must leave you." —Cate Marvin