Of Note

Circadian is, as its title suggests, saturated with natural rhythms - the quiet intensity of growing things and frustration with such man-made concepts as weather and its dominance over human life - it's essentially the frustration of the human relationship with nature and the desire to avert human awkwardness through communion with nature. Hey, Romantics! But, it isn't Wordsworthian in praising the sublime natural world - there's some bite to it, a lot of freezing and snow, the pain of the subsequent thaw, &c. I'm not normally one for nature writing, of which this is certainly a breed - perhaps the cousin of nature writing who steals all of nature writing's Iron Maiden posters. But far, far less annoying.

Though there were times when I felt the subtext of these poems was too, too SUB, the overall effect Klink achieves with this book is as a missive sent from one trapped under the frozen surface of a lake. I found myself with my MFA helmet on a bit too much - mostly because I really admire Klink's writing and want to put the full brunt of my intellect behind my reading of it, because I feel that's what it tends to invite. I noticed her habits of syntax and word choice, therefore, more often than the average reader might. But this is true for most poetry I read, which is why I find it really difficult to invest in reading a whole book of poetry.

But, that said, I feel like her pacing was immaculate and totally deserving of its titular recognition. I think I'll have to go back and re-read the book in one sitting (my main reading time, alas, is relegated to my morning and evening bus/train commute). One poem in the second half stopped me dead in my tracks. I must have gone back and read it three times in a row. Then out loud, to my husband, who humored me, God love him.

"Thoughts On Fog for the realist," if anyone's wondering. It's one of those rare pieces that retains its poet utterly, yet snakes down into my voice box and speaks as though it were mine. Not just because I wish that I'd written it (though I do - boy, do I ever!), but because it is one of those ars poetica-quality poems that doesn't shout from the rooftops that it's a justification for the writing of poetry. Keep in mind, the lineation is different - I have neither the patience nor the expertise to dupicate all those tabs here:


When the cold fell a fog-frost beaded the weed-
stems and faintly feathered the tree-tips. Impreceptibly a pattern

began to make itself felt--the gravel, the fat brown sparrows that never
returned to our feeder--everything wants to be scarved in ice,

everything wants to be hallowed.


Here is the real world


given in exchange for that illusion of weather you call life
or the way things are and should you find it can't sustain you

(or you miss the wry urban chatter or the concrete plums in the fridge)
you can leave whenever you like--I'll stay with the mutable fish,


the parking lot that was ten thousand years ago a sea,
the seaweeds (which bloom here and have roots) and yard-weeds


I feel I haven't done it justice by chopping it up so, but that sly little reference to Williams! "everything wants to be hallowed"! Lovely!

I need to go back and read They Are Sleeping again, because I feel this is so different. Not as overtly sexy, but totally relevant and a BIT more reader-friendly, which is neither here nor there for me - difficult or easy, a good poem is a good poem. These are for the greater part very good poems. Yes.


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