Shira Dentz: black seeds on a white dish
Published 15 November 2010
Paperback, 90pp, 9x6ins, £8.95 / $15
black seeds on a white dish has been nominated for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award from PEN's American Center.
The poems in black seeds on a white dish spring from the search for what is generated and discovered when loss and desire occupy the same space. But lamentation is not the primary focus—by destabilizing everything in its reach, loss disables rigidity. These poems shift widely in form and tone, and seeds invoke the creative germ that spurs the metamorphoses occupying them: "Nothing to do but let the form of things take over." Shapes themselves, including punctuation, become a language throughout.
"Paul Cézanne once quietly avowed 'I will astonish Paris with
an apple.' And now I may, with quite an equal confidence, announce
that Shira Dentz will astonish us all with the 'the curve of a melon,' 'a
sunray diagonal' and 'pumpkin seeds.' Which is to say that
here is a book to unstill all the still life images resting in our hearts.
Shira Dentz is the most powerfully delicate poet I know." — Don
"What does it mean 'to let the form of things take over'? Shira Dentz is a poet of thrilling disorientations and courageous surrenders, a creature for whom the very letters of the alphabet are seeds of wonder, seeds of grief. Against all that is hollow, bland, and bare, she composes and exposes lush landscapes of sound and sight--punctuated by jagged flashes of irony, quirky comedy, and heartbreaking insight. I relish these poems, and celebrate the appearance of a collection that offers so much that is rare, artful, tender, urgent, unexpected, and true. And I am enthralled by a mind that gives voice to so many forms of desire in lines so freely expressing the shapes of our humanity: 'I want to say my life has / been a pipecleaner, beautifully twisted, / in tandem with others like it.'" — Phillis Levin
Download a sample PDF from this volume here.
Read a poem excerpted from the book at Versedaily here.
Read a review at Rain Taxi here.
Read a review at New Pages here.
Read a review by Joseph P. Wood here.
Read a review at Drunken Boat here.
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