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Living Room Paperback – September 1, 2005
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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I strongly recommend this book of poems for anyone that enjoys the clever phrase or image.
So then why now am I giving my reactions? Well, for one thing, I'm afraid that books like Geoff Bouvier's fly under the radar and not enough people know of this unique work. He lives in San Diego, and he works outside the academy, so for many readers, he just doesn't exist. In "Not Pathetic Ebough Weather We're Having," he steps back from the scene described almost as a technician. "Read the trees' confusion," it begins, in what I take as an imperative, a voice ordering us to read. (But it might also be a slangy use of the past tense, the initial word 'I' omitted as in naturalistic speech, like "Went down to the store today.") His poems are so brief you could almost count the words, and such compression, like the great weight borne down on coal, that turns it to diamond, makes emphasis key. "A sun's frown's funny on warm orange pumpkins." What is with the article "A"? How many suns are there anyway--why not just say "The sun"? It's a suggestive method which Bouvier uses like a grandmaster, to divert us out of preconceived notions into a place where answers disguise themselves as executioners.
When the real "I" makes a belated entry into the poem, naturally I assume it's the real Geoff Bouvier. However the rules of modernism intervene, pulling at my sleeve, asking me to consider that, perhaps, just perhaps, this "I" is an authorial invention. "But I won't feel for it until winter worries away snow." The poem ends somewhere else, on a "field of sweaty February," far away from its vision of pumpkins hot, hot, hot. Just so are we transported, as readers, away from the page itself and into another space mental or physical. Now I'm getting more Heather McHugh than I wanted, but you get the general idea.