US Trade, 64pp, €15, April 2014
The cover image is by Dylan Harris.
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Poets have often been the patsies for a predetermined set of truths, even as love, joy, safety, and sanctity rarely resemble what they’re purported to be. Poets become reduced to intellectualism and academicism—their truths provincially categorized before they’ve been written. When these constraints prove insufficient, a poet may only have her own instincts to rely on. In her new book, In a Form of Suspension, Pansy Maurer-Alvarez forgoes prescribed meaning, favoring her sonic palette as a guide to the pleasures of poetry. These are passionate poems, “authentically uncertain,” where “late temperate nature echoes revelations.” These poems inhabit a space of wild observation, offering moments of fused-grammar joy (“mimosa is composed of Seville”), but grounded by a delight in physicality. “I wanted to unleash brash themes, I wanted their warped gleam to hold me cleft to my own light,” she writes. Joy, social detail, a love for language, an urban wit, all combine in this book into an “invisible room …grazed by pale orbs of song.”