Continental Drifts is Pallant’s most unwieldy, sprawling, cosmic, and best book yet. It is far more tightly woven than Uncommon Grammar Cloth, and stiller than Into Stillness. What really separates this book, though, is how engaged it is (though tacitly and subtly) with the current historical/ecological moment. Basically it continues Pallant’s signature hermetic style but, just under a language that sparks with reference, resides a deeply cutting commentary on postmodern human existence in the world.
“[W]aywardness along the continuum of balance,” Cheryl Pallant’s new collection feels its way between old orders and the information which renders them uneasy. Reality and representation are married here, but always on the brink of divorce, and if the I and the Thou are involved, both are suspect: so that the core performance of the subjectivity that emerges is a constantly readjusted search. But it’s this consistently exploratory quality of the poems that is the great pleasure, this sense of desperate hunts and disparate strategies stabilized by a return to the material body or gesture. Written in “the vernacular of flesh,” Continental Drifts is full of deep questions leading to deeper questions, shot through by sudden answers that—blazing with the quick light of new illuminations—reveal the dancing shadows on every certainty. “I know what saying wants,” Pallant writes, but (the poet warns us) “Letters burn beyond recognition, beyond the naming of a star.”
Like tectonic plates drifting apart and colliding, Cheryl Pallant’s language in Continental Drifts shatters into microcosmic worlds and re-coalesces into new contours, expressing desire afresh. The ceaseless motion of destruction and re-alignment, of fertility and quiescence, is also the engine that propels speech into meanings yet just as soon incinerates them. In Pallant’s exquisitely musical streams of thought, forces in different realms coincide: “Hormones flow as insistently as magma.” But such sympathetic vibrations belie a restless instability at the heart of phenomena, and Pallant’s poetry shape-shifts to reveal the dialogue among energies that beget and erase. Continental Drifts simultaneously offers “a handful of earth and emptiness” and opens up within silence a rich realm whose core is “ripe beyond perishable, ache beyond blossom.”
Cheryl Pallant is the author of several poetry books, chapbooks, a collaboratively written poetry book, and a nonfiction book on dance. Poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been anthologized and published in numerous online and print journals in the United States and abroad. She has taught writing and dance at University of Tulsa, Keimyung University (in S. Korea), University of Richmond, and Virginia Commonwealth University. She lives in Richmond VA.
· Paperback: 118 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 978-1-60964-085-9
Buy it from Amazon