What follows is the ninth in J. A. Tylerâ€™s full-press of Subito Press, a series of reviews appearing at [PANK] over the course of 2012, covering every title available from Subito Press. J. A. Tylerâ€™s previous full-press reviews have covered every title from Calamari Press (at Big Other) and from Publishing Genius Press (at Mud Luscious Press).
Comprised of five long and fairly complex poems of varying styles, Andy Frazeeâ€™s The Body, The Rooms is a book of poetry built to uncover how language is a body, and the way in which readers mirror those instinctual thoughts we can never contain.
We or the poet and reader are alone in their poem. Bodies or pages separate. Language is both the separator and that which bridges the lapse of separation.
The Body, The Rooms is as philosophical as it is poetic â€“ Frazee simultaneously exploring the way in which our body is a vessel for the humanity that lies within and establishing the insignificance of language as only one attempt to capture one piece of a larger moment that is always changing: a reader in the moment of reading.
To open the conversation, Frazeeâ€™s first poem â€˜The Books Ofâ€™ unpacks the linguistic posts of the conversation, followed by â€˜Cartographyâ€™, which puts poetry in juxtaposition with philosophical footnotes, and â€˜In This Element of Captureâ€™, a poem that concretizes the discussion by mixing poetry with lines from New York Timesâ€™ articles. And once Frazee has this dialogue firmly in place, clearly defining the separation that exists between language and idea (and between body and reader), he brings the two back together in â€˜That the World Should Never Again Be Destroyed by Floodâ€™, the crowning achievement of The Body, The Room, a beautifully thick and personally tinged poem of father-loss and biblical flood:
from â€˜That the World Should Never Again Be Destroyed by Floodâ€™:
Around the edges of the page, the texture of nature: landscape-words, object-words, people-words dying in the eye. rain, window, father. Upon the page the anatomy of letters. Formica, fluorescent: what we need is absence, for the good to descend into.
Wrapped up with the titular poem â€˜The Body, The Roomsâ€™, Andy Frazee once again brings language and readership, body and idea into separation and unity, finalizing the collection in stalwart fashion. The Body, The Rooms is an impressive book of poetry to be certain, and one in particular that lovers of philosophy and linguistic conversation will relish.
The Body, The Rooms is available from Subito Press.
Subito Press is a nonprofit literary publisher based in the Creative Writing Program of the Department of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder. We look for innovative fiction and poetry that at once reflects and informs the contemporary human condition, and we promote new literary voices as well as work from previously published writers. Subito Press encourages and supports work that challenges already-accepted literary modes and devices.
J. A. Tyler is the author of eight books of prose and poetry, the latest of which, Variations of a Brother War, is now available from Small Doggies Press. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming with Many Mountains Moving, Dislocate, The Chattahoochee Review, and The Brooklyn Rail, and he currently reviews for The Nervous Breakdown and The Rumpus. For more, visit: chokeonthesewords.com.