Deborah Poe’s Our Parenthetical Ontology is like an rock-opera bound into a book. The poems in Poe’s book are pleasing tonally and visually. She uses the page as her stage and white space as an (in)visible prop to pull the reader through her lyrics. While confronting the slippery idea of what language can be, Poe keeps playing with the reader’s ear, keeps filling a reader’s mouth with sounds that tumble off their tongue:
She slipped and understood nothing; /
she did not discover genius, created no masterpiece /
leaving wine for language. /
She slipped. (from “There Was Language Inside Her, and She Slipped”)
Using the white space and playing with margins, the poems dance in conversation with the poet, the reader, and the poems themselves. Sometimes the poems have multiple voices, sometimes the poems are stage directions, and sometimes the poems are difficult answers for their own questions. An example of this comes in Poe’s long series “(W(e)a(St) Solo,”
how many sparrows scattering above?
do not expect
for the such and such
The white space is an important element in Poe’s poems; it is within that space where the reader is able to breathe and digest the poem. Poe’s work creates a rhythm that entrances the reader into a cycle of devouring and digesting. By the end of Our Parenthetical Ontology, this trance is pulling the reader through the pages, letting the reader get lost and (re)discovered in Poe’s language, which is sometimes gleeful, sometimes regretful, though always controlled. I await with baited breath this poet’s next collection.
Our Parenthetical Ontology was published in 2008 by CustomWords, an imprint of WordTech Communitcations L.L.C. Purchase it here: http://www.custom-words.com/poe.html or here: http://www.amazon.com/Our-Parenthetical-Ontology-Deborah-Poe/dp/1934999342/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1231703025&sr=8-1