Microreview Tuesday?

Don’t ever stay the same; keep changing

Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney
Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2009

Sometimes it’s fun to read a book of poems that’s been written collaboratively and wonder, line by line (or however), who’s written what.  But sometimes that can drive me a little crazy, and it’s better for me to forget all that and read like it’s any other book.  Don’t ever stay the same; keep changing, a chapbook by Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney, is not any other book, and every way I read it I enjoy where it takes me.

I’m hooked before I even get past the first two lines:  “With this dead, damp leaf / I thee wed.”  A lot of the lines have question marks in them.  Here are two of those lines, followed by a parenthetical that seems like some sort of definitive answer to something--while the answer itself blows me away:

    That “making is thinking”--can it be true?

    Function perfectly married to form? (It had to be shiny, it had to be this
        gleaming blue.)

Much of the book has a playful quality to it, which I love; one of the poems is titled “13 FACTS ABOUT COCKS.”  But here’s a line I really like because it starts out being playful but ends up being playful and profound:  “The drums--in the signature time signature of her brutish suitor--insisted If brute force doesn’t work, you’re not using enough of it.”

“The best kind of sad” can be knowing you’re getting to the end of a book.  But at the end of this one I also feel reassured--by the writing, and by what the writing has done for me:  “All this has been yours / since the day you were born & even before.” [Erwin Ponce]