Wednesday, April 9, 2008
COLDFRONT MAGAZINE: Bryan Stokes II Review of Forms of Intercession
On the last page of Forms of Intercession, Jayne Pupek’s first full-length collection, a short author bio notes that she has spent most of her career as a mental health professional. The off-kilter verse on each of the preceding pages, however, intentionally gives the perception that they were written from within the proverbial padded room. In a time when taboos have themselves become verboten, Pupek manages to recapture in poems about sickness, infidelity and death the same uneasy awkwardness once reserved for discussions of politics, religion and money. Poems such as “Lunch Hour” carry a continuous narrative through stark, startling images of the carnivalesque and unexpected: “I watch / a woman wrestle a dog to the ground. / She wants his bone.”
Divided into three sections, Forms of Intercession opens hesitantly. The first section, also titled “Forms of Intercession,” begins with a disjointed poem of the same name, each stanza of which holds a tightly wound microcosm of a narrative, unrelated to any other. It takes several poems with loosely connecting threads before Pupek settles comfortably into multi-poem ruminations on death and mental illness. She warns in “Walking in the City” that “sometimes there is no absolution. / Scrape the onions off the bread and keep going, / You do what comes next, no matter how ordinary.” Yet there is nothing ordinary about the poems which follow.
Read the rest of the review at Coldfront Magazine.
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