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157 Book Notes that “Seasons, oceans / continents / tumble from the shelves.” It’s not that foodstuffs aren’t worthy of poetic study. But, just as a door can resist penetration, sometimes a can of beans is just a can of beans. Again, these are rare moments. What Sources does so well and so often is return us to those objects and texts out of which the poetic impulse first arises. There is a cyclicality to this movement: Ouroboros-like, the book opens with an epigraph from a Greek philosopher and closes with a poem called “The Greeks,” the last four stanzas of which are Ladders lean against the sky, sources whistle past our lips. Pacing rugs or battered roads we wait for what we know we know. Source and ladder, ground and sky. Whether from within or without, we’ll know it when we find it. All we have to do is listen. Legible Heavens, by H. L. Hix. Etruscan Press, 2008 reviewed by Deborah Holler Legible Heavens, the seventh book of poetry by H. L. Hix, explores a universe that is “distinctly . . . implied and inscribed.” Constructed in four variations on poetic form, the work opens with the impressionistic stream of consciousness of “Star Chart for the Rainy Season” and concludes with the intentional formalism of “Synopsis.” Each of the four discrete sequences functions on a conceptual grid bound by a thematic core of impressionistic experience infused with natural and spiritual reality. colorado review 158 In “Star Chart for the Rainy Season,” the poet-narrator is “dealing here with a logic that includes its own failure.” The fragmented imagery is an impressionistic stream of consciousness representative of pure thought or reverie, and is the least structured sequence in the book. These poems are journalistic laments and meditations on lost love. Starting with lines from the biblical Song of Songs and concluding with a fragment from Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, this sequence foreshadows the progression of procedural order from the romantic to the postmodern. The narrator describes the rainy season as a primordial soup of cosmic loneliness after separation and absence from his lover. Like Adam, he awakens to his world to find himself alone: . . . caressing myself running my fingernails lightly backward across my rib cage touching the tender parts of one arm as lightly as I can with the fingertips that end the other arm as if were carrying signals star to star across the constellation you carry With only his ribs to guide him, he searches the stars for an answer to his isolation and the profound longing that “disturbs this logic I keep mistaking for love.” The seasonal metaphors continue in the geographic imagery of the following sequence as the narrator progresses into the carnality and sensuality he finds in union with his mate. “All the One-Eyed Boys in Town” is structured as a cento sequence , each section collaged from the works that he “insisted on thinking of as poetic sequences.” The narrator tells us that “the whole series has meaning, but none of its elements has any sense.” This is reflected by the emphasis on the poetic fragments that function like the ribs of a spine, giving structure to this sequence that expresses his completion in physical union with his Eve. “Apparently I want to sequence myself,” he says, and almost every poem in this section refers to sequences: Sequence hums, asserts again its strict melody. Maybe the soul is shared. 159 Book Notes This expression of “sex as song” is a “frenzied descent into sequence ” and a “primitive source of grace”: Tell me what this means, our fall, your tongue and clitoris, swollen with something halted . . . “I keep trying to sequence this loss,” he declares. “There are no rules for sequence except, your tears” and that “brief familiarity , gradually unraveled” as the climax of lust is inevitably followed by separation and a return to isolation. Drawing from the methodical structures of empiricism, “Material Implication” begins each poem with an “if-then” clause. In these deliberations the steady rain and flowing streams of the first sequence transform into snow, drizzle, flood; the landscape of the mind materializes in geographic and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2325-730X
Print ISSN
1046-3348
Pages
pp. 157-160
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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