Guest Post by Susan Kay Anderson
Okay, these are weird poems, weird-in-a-good-way weird because they excite the imagination. Browne has taken Lyn Hejinian’s [alert: L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry] poems and added her own two cents to them. She has not embellished them but taken a title and then riffed on it. Each poem ends with the title (which are phrases, mostly) changed around. This adds to the meaning and feeling of what Hejinian has done. It stretches the sense of things, as in “Language is as blind as sheep”:
It begins with,
Imbroglio daughters, imbroglio mind…
…Language unkind and steep
This adds to what Hejinian has built, and while these poems can be seen as collaborative, they use the found material of titles and transform them into sparkling jewels of poems, turning them luxurious and dazzling.
I don’t mind combing through these with the weight of mystery that comes with the territory of oblique writing like Language Poets are famous for, and away from which many, many poets run. These are poems to run to, towards the playfully topsy-turvy.
Intaglio Daughters by Laynie Browne. Ornithopter Press, September 2023.
Reviewer bio: Susan Kay Anderson lives in southwestern Oregon’s Umpqua River Basin. Her long poem “Man’s West Once” was selected for Barrow Street Journal’s “4 X 2 Project” and is included in Mezzanine (2019). Anderson also published Virginia Brautigan Aste’s memoir, Please Plant This Book Coast To Coast (2021).