From Publishers Weekly
Moxley's 1996 debut Imagination Verses remains an inspiring document; it was the first book to try to reconcile the more unassimilated strands modernism (the writings of Oppen and Stein, for example) and their later pomo incarnations with the lyric diction of the Romantics, without ignoring any of the political commitments that diction was designed to carry. The Sense Record may have less of an immediate impact, but only because Moxley has moved beyond her prankish, even punkish demeanor to create a grander, more difficult persona that can take in everything from Coleridgean spiritual buffetings, fierce social invective, polymorphic sexuality and telling class marks like "fifty-fifty sheets." The propulsive rhythm, quick cut imagery, involuted syntax and emotional ferocity of "A Transom Over Death's Door" force the issue of how completely the reader and writer of poetry should become absorbed in its synaesthetic surround, even as it offers no guarantees of remaking the world: "My hands are shivering, I miss the writing, I know what it has and has Not given me, here where drawn-out lives grow longer in false desires Disturbing envy and multifarious revelations of bright recycled hope." Among shorter apostrophes and lyrics are two longer poems, the six-part Wordsworthian title poem and "Impervious to Starlight," which track the stealthy insinuations of power into even the most intimate relationships, culling difficult prospects for openness and a renewed sense of agency from the experience of private, unwitnessed resistance: "Edged around the craved epiphany to this day there lives a secret pleasure, unequaled by revelation, irredeemable, the thought of `otherwise' that rents dissatisfaction from out its crippled cave, pounds a fear throughout the ears and packages a thousand meaningless acts into one grand raison d'etre: your life." In its determined insistence on a political, but no less refined, poetic urgency, this is one act that will be hard to follow.
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About the Author
Jennifer is a poet, essayist, teacher and translator. Her most recent books are The Line, The Middle Room and Often Capital. She is the poetry editor for The Baffler and a contributing editor of The Poker. She teaches at the University of Maine.