27 April 2009

bathe in it or sleep by Kim Triedman

bathe in it or sleep by Kim Triedman, Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2008. 40 pages, $10. Winner, 2008 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest Reviewed by P. Nelson Almost as a critical 'lark' one could categorize the flights of contemporary lyric as of two types: one pounces directly on its subject, the interest, then, in the subsequent dissections (and digestions); the other describes its quarry at a remove, circling, indicative. The best of Kim Triedman’s poems are of that kind. Here (quoted in part) is a poem about attraction: ‘Something about stains and time / and the color of sky- beauty, of course; / relentless. That phrase he used -- / “the very tint of inexperience --” / it made me want to bathe in it or sleep.’ [Plagiarism] From a poem about estrangement: ‘She could hear his voice, faraway as it was. / Between them: cold macadam and dried leaves, / the years flung out like line.’ [Distance] A young girl’s sexual awareness: ‘She can feel them moving {hornets}--/the steady whine of them / in her teeth. They haven’t/ found her yet but the sun / is hot and she knows they are /coming. Beneath / her arms; the shameful/ seep of perspiration …’ [Almost Stung] Mostly, the point of view is through the post Wordsworthian "I” (or Eye), in its late American evolution. If there are entire phyla of experience left out (not a glance towards the high terrains of Western Art), the method yet yields hard values—the alloyed gold of the personal, its witnessings and testimonies. We cross the reading bar and this poet serves us straight shots of herself; we drink quickly and are deepened. For who would dispute that griefs are the deepest drafts of life, excepting one profane to name (and, of course, Art). These are winter poems (’Every day an accusation,/even the trees: / branches like bones / pointing, / pewter shards of ice.’) [Choke-hold] ; under a cruelly lucid sky, losses are clearly etched. Triedman is a new poet from whom one wishes, as reviewers used actually to say, “to hear more.” What did they mean by more? More for enjoyment, more to balance the weaker work, more in the sense of further development of what is here,valuable and imminent. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “Bathe in it or sleep” was the worthy winner of the 2008 Chapbook Contest sponsored by Main Street Rag , a magazine and regional press, with reach. P. Nelson