Hanna Andrews reviews how do i net thee in OmniVerse 83

Hanna Andrews reviews how do I net thee

howdoinettheehow do I net thee
Shira Dentz
Salmon Poetry, 2018
85 pp.

In a 2016 “self-interview,” Thalia Field declares that situations—“paradoxical ecologies of perspectives and meanings”—make for “the best literature.” Field emphasizes the potential inherent to a situation’s “multiple spacio-temporal worlds, where nothing is necessarily more true or more important or more worthy of attention.” This idea seems not unrelated to Lyn Hejinian’s description of the “open text,” in which “all the elements of the work are maximally excited” and resist closure. Both the “situation” and the “open text” are sites of possibility—of the essai—and dynamic experience; direct and/or singular interpretations are abandoned in favor of slippage, association, re-invention without end. “Situations,” Field writes, “go beyond language toward awareness—extra-human, particular—and here is the possibility of getting past ourselves to explore all the sides of the living world.”

Shira Dentz’s latest book of poetry, how do i net thee, strikes me as attentive to exactly this sort of exploration. In this, her third full-length collection, Dentz does not discern between the particular and the panoramic; she is a poet who engages with both interiority and the natural world, not in equal measure, but in equal mixture. There is often no separation between the inside and the outside in these poems—a line from the poem “Ringed like a tree”: “We lived inside a fruit, pit silence” is followed with: “No-mother’s wing blown through like a flute / / The air is happy when it is lifting something.” (23)

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