Issue 92 |
Winter 2003-04

On Kathleen Graber


The method of these poems is to juxtapose several elements, forming a kind of scaffolding, a structure to enable both narration and meditation. These long-lined, expansive poems proceed through this sort of triangulation, melding disparate elements so that the whole becomes larger than the sum of its parts. Waitresses talk in a diner while the narrator reads Montale's poems and thinks about the nature of love. Walter Benjamin's ideas about the mechanical reproduction of art rub against a narrative of an experience in a copy shop and a woman's wish to conceive a child. This is a speaker we come to know as a sensibility, encountering the art and the ideas that help her to frame the questions of her own life. The poems are surprising, bracing, and smart, and they arrive at an unexpected emotional weight. I can't wait to have a book's worth of them.

—Mark Doty, author of six books of poems, most recently Source, and three volumes of nonfiction prose, the newest of which is Still Life with Oysters and Lemon. He teaches in the graduate program at the University of Houston.