Saturday, December 27, 2008

From accinge ...

... to zodiographer.
I have been intending for a while to write about Katie's chapbook of poems Obsolete. It is interesting in a number of different ways. First, as she tells us in the very brief introduction, she took over the idea of "a series of poems inspired by ... favorite obsolete words" from a character in a story she had written. Each of the 26 poems has as its title an obsolete word (accinge, for instance, means "to gird up one's loins," and a zodiographer is someone "who writes about or describes animals."
Amanda Bennett, the former editor of The Inquirer, once remarked to me about how distinctive a voice Katie brought to the two columns she used to write for the paper. That voice is definitely on display here. Also on display is an equally distinctive view of things: "... I kill light bulbs from overuse and they leave a / gray smudge at the top where their souls escaped."
Consider "Obtortion." The word means "a twisting, distortion, wresting, perversion." Appropriate for a migraine: "... the living that you think you're // doing is actually done to you, all pumps and pulleys plus this fine / teaching tool, this blossom blooming black behind one eye."
I've known Katie now, I suppose, for five or six years. But I think I know her a lot better now that I've read these poems.

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