The Empty Form Goes All the Way

Ahsahta. 2015. 98p. ISBN 9781934103623. pap. $18. POETRY
As Lambda Award-winning and Kingsley Tufts finalist Teare explains in his preface, at the onset of a chronic illness he discovered the paintings and writings of Agnes Martin, and the austere beauty of her grid-guided art is reflected in the construction of these poems. The various spacings are elegantly balanced, with the columns of the many split-structured poems in dialog; bursts of language let us intuit rather than see his pain. Teare opens by citing "a form/ narrowed down to its final iteration," then explains, "I am speaking/ of illness and the critical situation it reveals," and we finally get it: art brings not relief but understanding.
VERDICT Demanding and brave.
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