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Becoming Weather

Becoming Weather is introduced by a quote from Nietzsche that describes the shifting changeability of the collection—“That the world is not striving toward a stable condition is the only thing that has been proved.” Like the weather, Martin’s poems can quickly change from light to darkness, frigidity to a blazing heat. The writer explores this movement and the act of writing about movement—in poem 3 of the first section, “Disequilibrium,” he states:

Becoming Weather is introduced by a quote from Nietzsche that describes the shifting changeability of the collection—“That the world is not striving toward a stable condition is the only thing that has been proved.” Like the weather, Martin’s poems can quickly change from light to darkness, frigidity to a blazing heat. The writer explores this movement and the act of writing about movement—in poem 3 of the first section, “Disequilibrium,” he states:

So is it

the infinite or
the instantaneous

quality of movement
that frightens us more?

Do verbs only betray
the impossibility of not acting?

The poems speak of abandoning the physical entrapment of the body for pure movement, perhaps using writing as a vehicle for the abandonment, seen in poem 27 of “Disequilibrium,” with the memory:

we realized a knife
is a pen when it’s
inside the body

You ask me to conspire
against the trap
of the corpse

The poem concludes with the speaker still trapped inside the body, despite the pen, and his thought of “the poem / to a ripping point,” as the speaker “find[s] it / taut again.” “Disequilibrium” ends with a prose poem, “A Short History of Order,” which is a dramatic change from the sparse, short lines and short stanzas of the previous 37 poems. This poem reiterates the themes in the section, focusing on the body and how it “disappeared because it was always moving.”

The second section, “The Small Dance,” contains 29 poems that are even more dispersed across the page in form, again ending the section with a prose poem “Toward Corporeal Order,” which focuses more on movement than the body, though the body is still a concern of the poem, as it “in moving, removed so much unnecessary thought.”

“This False Peace,” the third section, contains poems that seem to be a hybrid in form between the prose poem and the spaced out, lyric poem of the second section. Rather than line breaks, the author incorporates extra spaces between phrases, lending a halting, telegram-feel to the poems.

The collection concludes with the section “Coda,” which consists of one poem, “Being Of,” where the author finally determines the “answer” so that “soon / enough we can return to / our entanglements.” Whether the entanglements of our lives are less than the entanglements and philosophical musings of the collection is hard to say; Becoming Weather sweeps up the reader into the tumultuous, mind versus body, world of the speaker.

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