Today I’m reviewing a small chapbook, written by a friend and former colleague, Sarah Cook. Sarah attended the University of Maine and focused on poetics, gender studies, and translation. Her work has appeared in Gesture, The West Wind Review, Poor Claudia, and the Illuminati Girl Gang zine.
Her chapbook, A Meadowed King, out of Dancing Girl Press, examines the physical and the cerebral in juxtaposition, and how we infuse these with meaning in self-perception and in relating to others. In A Meadowed King, the body is both tangible and intangible and the mind is an unreliable narrator, analytical, but capricious.
From “Poem in two equal parts:”
“…most people put all their important things inside parenthesis and hope for the best/my things are all in there now/in your arm places and your leg places/and where i thought my sister would bend/were she my sister.”
Her book also deals with the concept of time. From a poem titled “True north is this tiny circle, orbiting:”
“if you count all the way to the highest number/it may translate a certain amount of hours into bloom.”
And, “everything comes down to seconds when you consider the steps of an old neighbor’s door.”
As evidenced from these lines and many other passages in this collection, Sarah’s style can be described as minimalist and experimental. Most of the poems are constructed in blocks of text or in a spare, stream-of-consciousness flow. Many poems are built in sections of two or three lines that offer stark images, isolated, lacking the discursive, becoming an essence of something else.
The reader can take away from A Meadowed King, a deconstructed sense of bodies and interpersonal exchanges in time. There is an interconnectedness to everything we experience, and Cook looks at both what is under the surface and at at the ultra-surface.
You can purchase this chapbook, and other notable titles from Dancing Girl Press. This press offers mix-and-match bundles, so grab a few others if you like when checking out!