Repetitions and arrangements

Quinn Gruber

Editorial assistant Quinn Gruber reviews three multitudinous poetry titles.

Ringing the Changes
, Stephanie Strickland (Counterpath, 2020)

Ringing the Changes sounds through the highly precise patterns of English bell ringing, producing a “work that transgresses the boundary between thought as act and thought as content.” A series of twenty-three “bells” of text resonate in “many different interlocking dimensions” of climate change, racial justice, art, and performance; in the unique changes, “each of these pocket universes of social and economic reality has its own structure and forms, its own space and geometry.” In the overwhelming crises of the present, Strickland reminds us what the body can do: “It can reach out. It can look up.”

Repetition Nineteen
, Monica de la Torre (Nightboat Books, 2020)

“The process by which one thing becomes akin to another is always already open-ended, never definitive.” In Repetition Nineteen, Monica de la Torre whisks us along a fantastical journey through translation, asking us to “imagine that a line of poetry is a ray of light, and that a prism is a translation machine of sorts.” Communicating and translating through technology, language barriers, and memories refracts single poems into brilliant frequencies. Rejecting the assumption that we cannot interact with languages we don’t understand, de la Torre revels in misunderstanding, mistranslation, and mishearing, embracing the delight in valence and equivalence.

Illusory Borders
, Heidi Reszies (The Operating System, 2019)

Heidi Reszies’s Illusory Borders asks: “Couldn’t we invert everything that’s familiar, just to see what breaks through?” Reszies grounds us in the space of the garden, studio, and home to explore how we mend and move and grow through the seasons in “little arrays of typography & color edited & redrawn to make separation/variation/illustration count.” An extensive meditation on process and creation, Illusory Borders invites us into the margin as an intimate, domestic space. In the tranquil moments of looking out the window, planting bulbs, and mending clothing, we “see the whole thing: new things still happening everywhere/every force to reckon with/every little thing.”