A review of Cole Swensen's 'Landscapes on a Train'
Swensen’s anaphora is both visual and audible. The turning of the train’s wheels, the up-and-down of the hills, the words and end-stops, the rise and fall of gears and gaskets, noun and verb like metal pressing metal, run the train faster and faster through the landscape until outside is confounded and melds into such twinned, twined images as: “A / Train across open land opens night. (A train lands all night across an open field)” (11).
I am on the TGV Lyria from Paris to Mulhouse reading Cole Swensen’s newest poetry collection, Landscapes on a Train. I am awash in “The infinite splitting of finite things” as these one to five long-lined prose poems pass before my eyes with the rush and rumble of the train, the staccato catch and jostle of unexpected punctuation, the blur of the greens outside echoed in:
Green. Cut. And I count: the green of the lake the green of the sky and the field
Which is green and is breaking. (7)