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The Trees The Trees

  • Image: Image
  • Book Type: Poetry
  • by: Heather Christle
  • Date Published: July 2011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980193879
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 72pp
  • Price: $12.00
  • Review by: J. A. Tyler

The Trees The Trees, the second poetry collection from Heather Christle, is a loosely-knit collection of poems that sometimes has to do with trees, that often has to do with the dichotomy of relationships, and that always has an overwhelmingly and wonderfully infectious use of rhythm:

a woman and a man are on a bench     the bench is
vibrating     and the trees and     purses that which
does not vibrate falls apart     the dead also vibrate
the woman and the man are still alive I think     I
know a lot about the world     when the man says he
will fix dinner     he does not mean he will repair it
(from “These People are Getting Together”)

Propagated into even wider circulation via Christle’s offer to read her poetry live to anyone who called during a given set of days and times (read about it here), The Trees The Trees sets itself up for high expectations from any reader of indie press literature, and this second collection is definitely worth the hype. Each poem is spaced unlike traditional poetry, using empty tabs between lines instead of normal line breaks. Even via that small aesthetic design element, Christle’s poetry has the effect of pinning us down, like an older brother holding down our arms with his knees, while poetry blares in our faces:

you  were  holding  me  when  the  tulips     collapsed
we have not given them the water     I was holding
the water in my hands     and you were holding me
when I fell to the wavering ground       and for the
tulips we are not sorry       oh no       we’re not sorry at
(from “What We Have Worked For”)

Christle’s poetry is not forceful or aggressive but very charming and quirky, something akin to the strange friends we all have and love, the friends who say unexpected things and takes us down surprising paths. Christle’s poetry does that—says unexpected things and takes us to places that we didn’t envision, down a path we couldn’t have selected ourselves, but that in retrospect, feels very comfortable and good and warm and right.

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Review Posted on October 04, 2011

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