No Matter

Tim Duggan: Crown. Jul. 2019. 112p. ISBN 9781984825117. pap. $15ebk. ISBN 9781984825124. POETRY
In her second volume of poetry (following The After Party), Prikryl, poetry editor of the New York Review of Books, uses the trope of the urban, of cities in decline, to show readers that even deterioration can lead to something useful and unexpected. The poems use form, invented form, and free verse and carry single-word titles, with some titles repeated. “Anonymous,” in which “The whitecaps blink like second thoughts,” appears most often, and “Sibyl” recurringly references the ancient Greek prophetess who foretold of holy sites. Perhaps all decaying cities are holy? But we’re getting ahead here; these poems aren’t easy to pin down. Prikryl’s language is often fragmented, obscuring meaning, which leaves readers to search and consider. Perhaps this is the point of art—and Prikyl’s point: we see what we need to see, what we must.
VERDICT As when reading John Ashbery, readers here will need to give themselves the words, allow magic to happen, as when walking up the street “was to be rinsed,/ to lean into the current and hear/ its drowned voices, hear the one voice just stating the obvious.”
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