Place & Swamp Isthmus

A nice article on place & poetry featuring excerpts from and thoughts on Joshua Marie Wilkinson's Swamp Isthmus and Joyelle McSweeney's Salamandrine:

In these slight but heavy poems, Wilkinson turns history into those dangerous images over and over again.  Nothing exactly feels “at stake” in this book, but despite its slowness, its interest in weighing words rather than startling them, what we’re given still feels urgent and touched by historical burden.  Wilkinson refers to “corpulent history,” ending one poem with the lines “where the recording devices / click back on / to show us how sadness / works in a loop.”  Place is bound up entirely with history, with the dead wrapped in the muck at the bottom of that swamp.  I think this is one of the more interesting things to do with place, especially in poetry: to acknowledge that what makes place so ensnaring is the way it works as the ultimate archive of history: where the soil breathes the way the affects of the dead.

Read it here.