Reviews in 200 Words

Seeing Stars by Simon Armitage

In Poetry on February 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm

You know waking up from dreams–not necessarily good or bad–and having that, “Wow, I didn’t know my imagination was capable of that,” feeling? Like, the kind of dreams that are reassuring just in their magnitude–their absolute creativity. These prose poems are like that. Over and over. A collection of all of the information you’ve gathered and not known where to store. But, important stuff: true stuff. They play out like tiny films. Actually, some of them, like, “The Cuckoo” and “Upon Unloading the Dishwasher” could probably be feature-length films. Someone get to work on that. Some of them are jarring, like, “Michael,” which sets forth a theory that the first thing you steal (as a child) predicts what you’ll be later in life. I stole a pack of gum when I was like 5, and then ended up taking it back. Huh. These are the things that Armitage will have you thinking about. Plus he’s British, so he can get away with using “poppycock” in poems. Every poet is jealous of that. But be sure of this: Armitage, for all of his silliness, can knock the wind out of you–can swell your eyes with tears–just like that.

-Micah Ling

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