Review #57: ‘Errings’ by Peter Streckfus

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  • COLDFRONT RATING: four
  • PUBLISHED BY: Fordham University Press, 2014
  • REVIEW BY: Timothy Liu

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What if a “voice” is not what you were after in your poetic practice, what would your poems then sound like? In a recent New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl had this to say about Sigmar Polke’s MOMA retrospective: “There is no Polke style, but only a distinctive force of talent and mind. With caustic humor and cultivated mystery, he could seem to hit a reset button from phase to phase, and even from piece to piece, and he regularly frustrated the efforts that curators, dealers, and critics made on his behalf, in ways that blurred his public image and hobbled his sales.” Is it mere coincidence that P. S.’s astute assessment about S. P.’s show might also equally apply to another P. S.’s second book of poems? Or that the letters “P” and “S” can also be found in Prospero who drowned his books, a Full-Fathom-Five Father who dissolved into his words, his spells? If you read and admired (as I did) Peter Streckfus’s Yale-Younger The Cuckoo published a decade back, then it’s a no brainer to cozy up to these new acts of collusion while spreading yourself out on green heather.

Disclosures: These poems offer antidotes to the McPoems that Donald Hall was so worried about being served up by the billions.

Favorites: Erring; A Bridge, the Pilgrims; Earth and Water; Transmigration.

Read Streckfus at New Republic.