Reviews - August 2020

Reading weed acts

A review of Carol Watts's 'Dockfield'

Broad-leaved (left) and curled (right) dock. Photos by R. A. Nonenmacher.
Broad-leaved (left) and curled (right) dock. Photos by R. A. Nonenmacher.

In many ways, the structure of this poetry is parabolic. Points of reference are plotted along a curve that eventually returns to the same site of origin — the dockfield — before continuing onward. This is reflected in the release and retraction of words and images within parts of lines as well as in the broader sweep and curve of deep, transhuman time to which the text aspires. In the later poems, as the pace of crisis picks up, and images of ecological horror stumble into each other within a dervish of lyrical speaking over and silencing, there is still an inevitable return to the still center of the dockfield.

Carol Watts’s Dockfield opens with an epigraph from Emily Dickinson — “Like Rain it sounded till it curved.” This attention to sound and structure also informs the opening lines of the first poem:

Step through on a curve,
a grand elliptic.

I will find you. Always.

A message sent up from simple frequencies.[1]