amongst books

amongst books

Thursday, March 16, 2017

3 Summers by Lisa Robertson, a reading diary - part two

February 21 to March 16, 2017

I liked the startling and rich imagery, the way the book was organized into different sections with recurring themes that weaved back and forth throughout. I liked the illustrations by Hadley + Maxwell. I liked the concept of the work as a hormone, the poem as hormone, the various glands: dandalian, acoustic, enjoyment. I liked the contemplation of the awkwardness of the body, its relationship to form and gender. Rebelling against form but also how form can adapt to fit its content. I liked the investment of abstracts, especially desire with concreteness, with feeling. I loved the relationship of the work to art, the way LR seems to build imaginary art installations. I loved the changeling speaker, sometimes with hoofs, sometimes wearing a sheep or cow’s skin. I loved the colour palette: green, purple and gold. I loved the sutures, folds and seams that brought the outside in, that made me think that nothing is ever really whole, but rather stitched together. I loved the sometimes wry and humourous juxtapositions: poetry, highway robbery.  I loved the quality of the light. This book is beautiful. I wrote and paraphrased over 3500 words when I realized I was oversimplifying, unintentionally clarifying or putting LR’s words into my own words  and I despised doing so, so I stopped.

I loved the flower machine. I am glad I am being converted to a lily. I squandered myself rosily with 3 Summers. I hope you do too.

Next I realize that all along it’s been my body
that I don’t understand
I just have to describe what it means
supernatural, negative and sexual
and blooming on one side. It’s fierce and then
it’s tired. The dog lies on the lawn
eating apples, me crouched in the
luxurious secret, whatever
I have been building, vena cava
threading to atmosphere, psoas
ruffling, everything quiet
rocked only by love, hazard, fate, sleeping—

Like a weak church flung across the matter they scarcely are
each dandy stands prepared to dispose herself
stands sutured to her animal mortality
to make philosophy say
the hummingbird.

from “The Middle” in 3 Summers (Coach House Books, 2016)

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