Ann M. Fine - A Nest This Size



In the UK, available only direct from Shearsman Books.

Ann M. Fine - A Nest This Size

Paperback, 80pp, 8.5x5.5ins

Download a PDF sampler from this book here.

Ann Fine's A Nest This Size is a journey embarked on via contradictory terms that occur when one attempts to explore the limitations of human (vs?) sentient abidance. Postmodern problems with things and places such as home, body, language, tradition, sleeve, machine/vehicle and rabbit hole become the relative metastructures through which these contradictions are channeled.


The whole of Nest is a poem in three parts; it begins with a long but sparse inquiry poem on the idea of pillow(s), moves slowly through a more traditional (physically) but ultimately deconstructed (almost thicket-like) diary form, and finishes with a comparatively swifter and more straightforward letter to Rabbit. Pillow, diary and Rabbit serve as characters (indeed talismans) who make up the spiritual triangulation in the rhetorical shrine of the literary nest. All things and places long to inhabit the uninhabitable size of their particular abidance (as in being wholly present in themselves) in hopes of reaching the reward of obtaining a sense of certain purpose. That purpose is frustrated by impossibility (which the poems believe is also beautiful). As the title suggests, if the goal were reached or were even possible to reach, becoming completely comfortable in one's nest might ultimately feel anesthetizing.

The poems exercise the shape and tone of the personal letter which is linguistically awkward and formal, purposely anti-lyrical (and "accidentally" lyrical sometimes), and are consciously tempered by folly (foolery). Literary, scientific and historical allusions and allegory are employed without annotation, as the often numbing nature of memory dictates — "This diary is older than this diary is."

"Meaning neither nestles nor settles in Ann Fine’s complex Nest. Rather, it skates over playful diction and grammatical gaming, bringing levity to this thoughtful book about the evanescent rationality of emotional life. And yet there is also grief here, and the pain of desire, both offset by the beautiful mystical quality of lines such as, 'a sleuth of wind interjects meaning into a room' or, 'I would rather surmise a doctrine of affections, and mirror what is vivid.'" A Nest this Size is a stunning debut. —Jennifer Moxley



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