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Lividity

  • Image: Image
  • Book Type: Poetry
  • by: Kim Rosenfield
  • Date Published: November 2012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-934254-37-0
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 171pp
  • Price: $15.00
  • Review by: Patrick James Dunagan

In “the stigma(ta) of autopsy. [an introduction]” Trisha Low writes: “[Kim] Rosenfield’s book is a bricolage of dense and tenuous single-line poems, swelling at mid-section, only to bleed away.” She goes on to refer to this text as “a dynamic dream-state of everyday language, grammatical imperatives and overheard clausal-tidbits” and rather conclusively states: “our only readerly option is to follow these poems.” I would beg to differ. Considering two successive lines on just as many pages which read “How long did you wait? / I waited for you for nearly an hour” as “single-line poems” is a bit of a stretch. We may choose to follow the stilted and fragmentary conversation(s) scattered throughout the book or we might just as well choose not to.

This is “No more, no less than the study of intonation.” We’re told: “We give to you, in large measure, the renovation and extension of our battery of micro-conversations and of our illustrated system of vocalized consonants” and that this is “our laboratory of creation” full of “structure exercises and our micro-conversations.” We also learn that:

The expired air can then sound like a noise of rubbing.
For f and v for example, the recalcitrant letters are formed by the superior incisors pushing on the interior lip.
For s and z—this endpoint of language comes very close to touching the hard palace.

One’s body and language are entwined. Speech is a physical act. How we use language defines bodily elements of our consciousness. A quick on-line search for the meaning of the term lividity turns it up as “a state of discoloration which may often be the result of an onslaught of unbridled fury.” There’s a clear visceral quality to the word that this text yearns after, boxing itself in a bit as performativity outweighs concerns more poetic and/or literary.

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Review Posted on February 04, 2013 Last modified on February 04, 2013
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