Abeyance, North America

JoAnna Novak • 2021

I’m still digesting this collection a bit, I think. There’s a lot to like. The framing as a series of travelogues is great, for starters — this does not feel like a “here’s everything I’ve written over the past five years” collection; there’s a sense of form and gestalt. (To that end, though, it’s a refreshingly diverse series of structures.)

And the language for the first half is beautiful: “raw” is a cliche word, I know, but I think of it in the sense of bloody meat. There’s a lot of desire and want and direction here, and some delightful stanzas.

But then…things peter out a bit. It kind of reads like a ketamine come-down; the structure hits a bit of a postmodern fugue, and the author runs out of steam and excitement. Hard to tell — thus the need for digestion — if that works in the book’s favor or not.



As far as I know, everything breathes. Raccoon claws, palm trees, sotol, sandwich wrap silence hut. In the park, you eat other plants.
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