Microreview Monday...Late Night

City of Moths

Sampson Starkweather
Rope-a-Dope Press, 2008

“This is one of those stories with a boy and a girl. Spark, chasm, spark.” Starkweather’s prose poems suggest epistolary but whom is he writing to? A girl? Us? Himself? None of the above or all of the above? So goes the machinations of Starkweather’s mind, eschewing straightforward logic, the narrative of these poems accumulate and blur, while the language vacillates between coo and rage. “In war, when enemies speak different languages it is said to make the killing easier, as for love...” Or to read City of Moths is to know everything and nothing all at once. [Steven Karl]

The Marble Palace
J. Mae Barizo
Fields Press, 2008

“In the dream the season./ Water on the lash then further down./ We kept hinged for the most part in an uneasy/ crowd. Blue undiluted, no leaf cover.” The opening stanzas of Barizo’s second chapbook finds the poet fragmenting her finely attuned sense of lyric so she can arrange, rearrange, or derange the world one segment at a time. These poems give you the expanse of the sky and the hairline fracture of the ice. “The citizens here are like watermarks, I said./ A stain or/ leaving no trace of it./ Which are you./ Pick one.” [Steven Karl]