03
Jan
13

Carrie St. George Comer’s The Unrequited (2003)

Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 4/5, which was published circa early 2005.

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Carrie Comer's – The UnrequitedStephen Dunn chose Carrie St. George Comer’s The Unrequited (Sarabande Books) as the winner of the 2002 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, & part of its reason for winning this award, I imagine, is due to Comer’s ability to take a thought/image/idea & run with it, for this is where Comer best succeeds. Her poems, at times, take or establish a supposition (which may or may not be a truth or true fact) & the poem builds, & builds on it. In “Three Days Before,” the poem supposes you know when you will die “Three days before you die.” And the poem details the physical ailments that occur three days before your death, such as “your head gets smaller,” “the skin of your neck loosens,” “your arms get thinner, / and hang from your torso as if attached by thread,” & other key indicators. For 13 pages, the poem continues to explore the third day before you die & does so without losing energy or without seeming contrived. It flows. The poem, in a sense, is kinda jazzy in that manner.

Comer will also initiate poems with a supposition but at times is unable to find or arrive at an ending (similar to a Monty Python skit), such as “Vespers” or “Get Outta Town.” But not finding an ending does not really detract from the poetry because the language is fresh & there are good movements. (Does anyone care that Monty Python can’t find a solid close to one of its skits? No, because laughs are had. For Comer, poetry is had.) So in this collection of Comer’s poems, we will find successful poems that don’t obey the dictum, “A poem should click shut at the end like the top of a well made box.” BUT there are many poems that do click shut, & almost all have a wonderful surreal energy about them.//

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Comer, Carrie St. George. The Unrequited. Louisville, KY: Sarabande Books, 2003.//


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