Soul in Space by Noelle Kocot challenges its readers. Within the first few poems, I recognized Kocot wasn’t going to provide footholds to guide me through her words of whimsy, which hint and glimpse at an uncharted world. I fought for meaning and felt lost in space; I surrendered to the experience, and suddenly Kocot’s vividity sang from the pages.
Kocot displays her gift of imagery, metaphor and imagination in delightfully surprising ways. Sometimes she accomplishes this through simple and beautiful sounding language, such as these lines from “March Scene”:
Like bees out of breath.
Starting to walk away, starting
To answer, you wait until
the last notes wilt into the cribs
And infant lids, like petals, close.
Other times Kocot employs very specific, multi-syllabic words such as “To greet the xanthophyll sorrow / Splattering over the provocative // Wash of the day.”
Kocot’s varied approaches and poetic devices seem in tune and consistent with this world she’s created through her poetry. A world consisting of earth and yet also the weightless flight of the soul—orbiting and searching:
Now we have reached the super-meadow.
The long fat cows graze in the cool, tall grass.
The meadow is for their pleasure, not ours.
We like to go there when the day is thick
As soup, and we glean wild honey
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sprinkling trails of entropy
On your weedless, wedless grass.
Kocot opens “Nude Ants” with the lines: “Talking about oneself is rarely / Intimate. The birds fly off / Somewhere, the lichens follow.” In “Poem” she writes, “I keep my distance like the tines / Of a fork from one another.” Distance and lacking intimacy are far from the reader’s experience, which could be more akin to the strange sensation of buoyancy while simultaneously being swallowed into a friendly sea with no clear understanding of what depths await and when the sea will release its hold. Even through uncertainty the reader finds assurances, as in “Dealing with the Incandescent”:
This feeling of being saved
I cannot shake tonight, the pure
On top of the pure stacked upon the pure.
Traffic lighter now than it was,
The sole survivor of yesterday’s wreck
Always has more to say.