29 ago. 2005


Company of Moths. Michael Palmer, New Directions, 2005.

I was a little surprised by the James Tate/Charles Simic tone in some of the poems. Palmer comes off as a more intelligent Simic. A lot of the poems feel as though they were translated from the Spanish or Portuguese. Some, in fact, are expicitly indicated as after a particular poet. I tended to translate them "back" as I read. They would work very well in Spnaish with only minimal effort at translation.

It's a very good book. "Sonnet, after Maurice Scèves" is a fine poem. I don't care much for

"A reader writes to complain
that there are no cellphones in my poems..."

I think this tone has already been "done." It's amusing enough, of course. I think there are some lapses of intensity in this book, poems that run out of steam before they are done or that don't seem urgent enough. I'm looking for the 20 pages in the 70 pages. But those other 50 pages keep getting in the way, even though these other pages are also "good." If they were bad it would be easier to find the 20. The 20 pages keeps changing. It is not the same with every reading. Thus I'd have to say there are really 40 pages.

There is a lot that reminds me of David Shapiro. The play with translation. I like this book more than Sun, the only other book by Palmer I own. I suspect it will get better the more I read it.

2 comentarios:

Tim Peterson dijo...

What reminds you of Shapiro here exactly, Jonathan? I'd be curious to hear...

Jonathan dijo...

I guess just the whole idea of a certain "translated" tone. There are isolated things that struck me that way, but DS is much better.