PARDONNE-MOI : in honor of NAPOMO back in APR, Caleb Klaces did a write up of LIKESTARLINGS collabs he enjoyed : he ends his piece with a look at MARA VAHRATIAN & my collab from FEB 2013

One Line Leads to Another

One of the many interesting effects of these poems is how they sensitize you to the sound effects in other poems. After rereading Detorie & Drescher’s sequence I came back to the exchange by Shelly Taylor & Mara Vahratian with new ears. Taylor’s final poem begins with a rich and complex pattern of sounds:
Near worldly was that house fixed not so far off you could fire
to fathom that infernal shrill was mother’s tarrying,
baby girl herself two eves down her childhood home. Its memory leaves
a weight, turn it around in the light, a no-town.
Snow globes expose ice skaters in a pleasant city within.
Taylor & Vahratian’s sequence, like Blanchfield & Siken’s, feels all of a piece. Although the poems were written in correspondence rather than in collaboration, their syntax is similarly crammed and cramped, and the language both ornate and vernacular. The poems follow one another with voices trapped in a place wanting to leave. Planning. Packing. Locked into a network of relationships—-yet there is always a sense of rapid movement in the beautifully controlled lines. Vahratian’s second poem ends:
Hey sandcherry choke rising, dunes
the beam of his back—-rank archer and you learn to sidle wary
but sweet. The whole country divvied by blocks or fields to face
perhaps tear-downs save the chimneys and seaboards:
a ditch, crouching girl lies in wait. All spent
junklot and aster-eyed the half-explanation.