Partially Kept

Nightboat. Jan. 2013. 80p. ISBN 9781937658014. pap. $15.95. POETRY
OrangeReviewStarThe very title of PEN USA/National Poetry Series winner Ronk's (Vertigo; Prepositional) new collection, gorgeously told slant, suggests her underlying theme: "As I understand my job, it is, while suggesting order, to make things appear as much as possible/ to be the way they are in normal vision." But what, in fact, is normal vision? We always see the world piecemeal, from different perspectives. Life is in the movement, in the distance we travel—"the morning moving gladly, is now come to pass"—and we define ourselves less by concrete being than by the progress we make. In one particularly felicitous observation, Ronk says: "Let me not be, or being only in gravel/ the brushed sound it makes underfoot// or under that or before the foot hits the ground." Not for nothing are ever-growing plants featured strongly here, and judiciously used quotes from 17th-century essayist Sir Thomas Browne highlight both distance and connection, as befitting the book's organic feel.
VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone interested in contemporary poetry.
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