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The Landfill Dancers by Mary Kasimor reviewed on Altered Scale

  

Mary Kasimor's THE LANDFILL DANCERS (BlazeVox)

by Jefferson Hansen


Mary Kasimor’s difficult, but rewarding, poems often create buried narratives, where a story is hinted at but never fully fleshed out. The poems track the perchings and turns of attention on top of these narratives, in forms that emphasize visual process. She uses a variety of poetic techniques—from in-line spacing, to surprising line breaks, to idiosyncratic capitalization—to goad words and phrases into a meaning only poetry could grant them. What’s more, a spirit of experimentalism leaps off the page. Kasimor plays with and in language, moving it into unique and specific witticisms and quiet surprises, all with an eye to visual enactment.
            In the poem “found on page 78” Kasimor explicitly mentions story:
                      found on          page 78
          the story has
                               a toothache when
          they looked           at the corners
          finding bruises
          blue
                        escapes a name          wandering
          skeleton covered           with skin  
The story is “found” on a seemingly random page in a magazine or book, probably in regard to a photograph. This is one of the few places where Kasimor addresses what she’s up to, and even here it is elliptical. For her, stories happen everywhere, are tied together with loose, but exact, strings in the complexity of experience. We don’t know precisely what is going on; bits of insight and guess are as far as we can go. These poems hover in the moments before provisional discernment, before a pattern can be identified or an insight had. They hover in ambiguity, but not ambivalence. They are sure footed, well crafted, even exacting. They have a sheen. So Kasimor writes of the unfinished, the raw, the prior to in, paradoxically, careful and fully formed language.

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