April 18, 2007

Review: The Tides

The Tides
Octopus Books, $6

everything else is a lie

So begins Genya Turovskaya’s three-sectioned chapbook of poetic oscillation, The Tides. The title could not be more fitting. Turovskaya’s lines wash back and forth across the page, towing objects and ideas from place to place before they run aground and the cycle begins again. The lines are disjointed, divided, but they are not fractured or disconnected. Everything is held together in the precise movements between before and after:
to begin what has begun again

suddenly men appear and absolutely nothing

except that something is and becomes was...

do you approach

the battering tide

something happens
something is happening to me

something has interrupted
something else someone
turns to look
over their shoulder

there is nothing there


Turovskaya’s world is full of mythos. It is a world “removed from geography the non-event the human / silhouette impressed in an embankment of mud // land mass torn free of the continent” (“The Tides”). The Tides reads like a post-creation story where the landscape has been reconstructed with names (of trees, of animals, of things), ships, lights, clothes, buildings, and water. The scenes are at once empty and full.

Line, language, and subject have all been broken down into incremental elements that, when strung together, complete what cannot be completed. Because if we are always a part of the in-between, and if “something else” is always happening, what other choice do we have but “to begin what has begun again”? Turovskaya builds a world through division and abstraction, but she writes with a serene clarity that never loses its way. She is both creator and guide. The Tides traverses the border that runs somewhere between lost-ness and finding, and Turovskaya allows us to accompany her on her journey through this vast expanse.

by Nate Slawson

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