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Our Parenthetical Ontology, Poems by Deborah Poe
In Our Parenthetical Ontology, Deborah Poe looks both inward and outward. Poe is unafraid to look at questions as large as the nature of being, and as small as the evanescent feeling of a single moment.
“‘But that’s what it wasn’t like/sometimes’: in Poe’s marvelous poems the lit and the oblique delineate the textures of the never-knowable and the known. A restless and irresistible intelligence meets an exquisitely nuanced sense of the senses. The sensual and the metaphysical, Feeling and Thinking, what she names ‘the sensual infrastructure’ and a ‘parenthetical ontology,’ everywhere intersect. A poetic version of what wine connoisseurs call mouthfeel—the sensation on the tongue—is in every line of this book, ‘dada and blahblah,’ the tongue’s rejoicing in consonant and vowel. Pound’s names for the powers of poetry—melopoeia, logopoeia, phanopoeia: the music, the linguistic play, the sensory image—all smolder at a white heat throughout Poe’s stunning debut.”—Bruce Beasley
“A mouthful, an electric stumble, a well-spaced lunge, Poe’s formal inquiry into the laws of settlement is a study in line breaks and trust. She is looking for a ‘between’ between sense organs and the dispossessed. She finds it. You witness her do so poem after poem. Her mindful tongue gathers the sensual (blossoms, mirrors, lakelight) refusing to hide the limits of the body within ideology. Neither Mother nor Mondrian could have structured such exquisite brushes with breath. These poems tremble like woodwinds, but Poe’s hands are on a grand piano pushing what is said against what is not. If you like to read text as musical score, you’ll love how Poe lotions language, positions it as a grin, as clench—part thigh, part tassel, part treatise.”—Lori Anderson Moseman, author of Cultivating Excess and Persona and curator/editor of the High Watermark Salo[o]n
“When one finds ‘all the world is speaking Creole /while you have only one language/on which to rely’ in order to make meaning one must fashion out of that single language a new language all one’s own. Deborah Poe in her marvelous first collection has done such a fabulous feat, turning syntax and fragments into lyrical delights, slippages of meaning so precise ‘so moonshine/wove words by her, in day’; that they teach us ‘the mouthful of exactly how’ to keep believing when it seems we cannot speak, by listening to what is ‘beating/between.’—Sean Thomas Dougherty
“Let me first say, I love parentheses, and then let me say I love Our Parenthetical Ontology even more. Parenthetical as in cupped, as in held, as in mouthed. A container, a gravitational field, a room. Words wear parentheses like skin; parentheses wear words like weather. Poe presents openings for deliveries of insight and questionings and erotic light. She provides spaces where being is wrapped inside language and play, inside deconstructed critique and postmodern wonder. After reading this I wanted to keep reading—and, as the highest form of praise, this reader wanted to write. Inside this beautiful space of a book, “You are there, dear reader, / with wide-groping logical eyes.”—Patrick Lawler, author of A Drowning Man Is Never Tall Enough, (reading a burning book), and Feeding the Fear of the Earth
Author of chapbooks from Furniture_Press and Stockport Flats Press, Deborah Poe’s writing has appeared in journals such as Ploughshares, The Portland Review, Denver Quarterly, Copper Nickel, FOURSQUARE Editions, Drunken Boat as well as in the anthologies Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS From the Black Diaspora (Third World Press 2007) and A Sing Economy (Flim Forum 2008). She has received several literary awards including the Thayer Fellowship of the Arts (2008) and three Pushcart Prize nominations. Poe is an assistant professor of English at Pace University where she teaches creative writing and contemporary fiction and theory.
ISBN: 978-1934999349, 84 pages, $18.00