Posts Tagged ‘Poetry is a graph of the mind moving

09
Feb
13

Helena Mesa’s Horse Dance Underwater (2009)

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 12, which was published circa November 2009.

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Helena Mesa's – Horse Dance UnderwaterHelena Mesa’s collection of poems Horse Dance Underwater (Cleveland State University Press) fulfills one of Philip Whalen’s and my requirements for poetry – poetry is a graph of the mind moving. I know I keep returning to that idea, but it’s a good one. It’s an idea that doesn’t waver and continually proves itself. So with that requirement, Mesa’s poetry proves itself, too. But with Mesa, when she’s moving full force, there’s more. The sound is moving, as well. Specifically, the harmonies. It’s the opposite of Linda Bierds but just as strong. With Bierds, the sounds lead the images and ideas, but with Mesa, the sounds keep up with the images in motion. For example:

   [. . .] Soon, morning hours
   scar our postures with thoughts
   of how we’re still awake, how
   raw words could change a war.
   Our chants hoarsen and against
   a ceiba some stretch, their candles
   cupped close to their chests.

I think this is Mesa’s first book. Whether it is or not, it’s a damned fine book. The language is hard and strong, and the poems create meanings. What else could you want?//

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Mesa, Helena. Horse Dance Underwater. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland State University Press, 2009.//




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