Slaves to do These Things
poems by Amy King
Amy King's writing are at once brainy yet coursing with a perceptable sensuality, are among the best of the post-modernist, post-Language, post-confessional style where we have. She is a writer who has surmounted the collective, generationally situated surprise that our native tongue is , in essence, slippery when it comes to addressing our experience and who has gotten on with an interrogation of both the templates one has absorbed from birth and the ones accrued through living long enough to modify one's narrative.
There is no defeatism here, no smallish voice sighing over disappointments , no staccato -cadenced anger replaying old wounds. Amy King comes through these poems not as a survivor nor someone inclined to obscure the bare facts of her life and the reading she brought with her, but rather a poet with a firm grip on the co-agitations of joy and subtler anguish.
The wonder is that there not a place one senses that they've come across someone who thinks it's time to address themselves in a disguised past tense; these are the wonderings, inspections, musings of some one too enthralled with the discussion underway to worry what the final word will be. What hasn't been said yet is nothing to worry about, but to anticipate as a hard-verbed , sexily ironic entree to what one doesn't already know.
King's verse is sharp, witty, moving in ways that are made powerful by the emotional nuance her line breaks contain; there is the sense that everything one knew is wrong, afterall, and yet it stands as a reasonably reliable filter through which one may continue their negoiation with the metaphysically inclined whispers--the ghostly reminders objects, places, faces can awake and send a chill down your spine. There is an analytical rigor here, but not cerebralization of one's history. One witnesses the sort of appreciation of personal multi-valence; the meaning of King's life has changed due to the texts she's absorbed, and her experience, in turn, has changed the meanings of the books she has been given.
Choice and recommended.