March 29, 2007

Review: The Knife-Grasses

The Knife-Grasses
Octopus Books, $6

As the title suggests, the duality of objects is not an either/or, but an is/is. This chapbook-length poem, with its short lines and spare syntax, strings together image after image, investigating the multiplicity of each one in perfunctory preciseness:
Here are the
lullabies sick
voices dump
right in the
The moves Doxsee makes are not turnings-over to see the other side of images, but are more like meditations on images where each image presents itself for a brief instant before it shifts out of focus and another one takes its place. In that sense, this is a book full of fleetingness where place constantly shifts under the “now sky / & now cracked sky,” where, to paraphrase Eliot, the world is a heap of twofold images.

It is a fantastic, child-like world of cross-eyed dogs, fireworks that explode into castles, girls diving from balconies into mittens, a peanut-shaped sun, and stars that are walls. It is a Technicolor dreamscape where everything is only when it seems, whether real or imagined or some gorgeous hybrid of invention.

by Nate Slawson

This is the first in a series of eight reviews on the chapbooks from Octopus Books.