2019-11-13

Rift Zone by Tess Taylor

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087) Rift Zone by Tess Taylor, finished November 13

The author, poet, is my neighbor. Which you will know if you came to hear me speak at LDSPMA. Although she's written quite a lot about being from this here town, she hasn't really embraced her smalltown East Bay heritage in a collection of poetry until now, with collection number three(1)(2), which is entirely about addressing that heritage, including all the awful stuff. (And although this collection is wise and clever and nuanced, it does contain a pretty high percentage of awful stuff---racism, pollution, and other top hits of American ugliness.)

Visually, the poetry in this book engages deeply with ugliness or, more deliberately, with earthquakes. The geology of California is famously fractured and the book's epigraphs largely describe rocks and faults. But many of the poems are also fractured, bits of lines spread across the page.

Given my personal poetic preferences, it will surprise no one that these poems are not my favorites. (I recognize the irony that my latest published work looks much the same.) I get that Tess is exploring how far form ("form") can be pushed without breaking, but she's so good when she's focused more on content. Or so say I, anyway.

(Although I should mention that, when she chooses to go lyrical, she's quite good at it and has lovely restraint.)

The parts of the collection I think I am most likely to share with students are autobiographical. Or, presumably autobiographical. The poet is under no obligation to be lower-case-t truthful, and some of the "autobiography" doesn't seem to be possible (that is, the calendar does not allow one to be that age in year x and this age in year y).

Immaterial and not a complaint.

I could write about individual poems I liked, but I think instead I want to talk about the envoi.

It begins with an epigraph about San Francisco being built upon old ships and docks, then begins to list some of those old things the Bay is built upon: "floating opium dens next to floating prisons" ... "Whose white settlers funded their own microgenocides" (21, 23). And so forth. but key is the final line:
As much as of anywhere I am of you.
It's a lovely and appropriate conlcusion to a book that is about just that: embracing the where and what and when and whom and (etc) "I am of."

available to purchase april twentytwenty

about exactly a month


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The other books of 2019

001 – 005
001) Thornhill by Pam Smy, finished January 2
002) How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis, finished January 3
003) Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, finished Janaury 4
004) Third Wheel: Peculiar Stories of Mormon Women in Love by Melissa Leilani Larson, finished January 6
005) Fox 8 by George Saunders, finished January 6

006 – 010
006) SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, finished January 8*
007) Latter-day Laughs by Stan and Elly Schoenfeld, finished January 16
008) All We Ever Wanted: Stories of a Better World edited by Miner, Palicki, Chin-Tanner; finished January 19
009) Daytripper by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá, finished January 19
010) Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist by Steven L. Peck, finished January 20

011 – 015
011) Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, finished January 22
012) Huck by Mark Millar et al., finished January 24
013) Marketing Precedes the Miracle by Calvin Grondahl, finished January 30
014) Uncle Scrooge:The Seven Cities Of Gold by Carl Barks, finished January 31
015) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, finished January 31

011 – 015
016) Snotgirl: Green Hair, Don't Care by Bryan Lee O'Malley and Leslie Hung, finished February 16
017) Ghost of the Grotto by Carl Barks, finished February 20
018) When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs, finished February 22
019) Temple and Cosmos by Michael R. Collings, finished February 23
020) The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, finished February 23
021) Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs, finished February 24

022 – 027
022) One Dirty Tree by Noah Van Sciver, finished February 25
023) Snotgirl: California Screaming by Bryan Lee O'Malley & Leslie Hung, finished February 28
024) Sabrina by Nick Drnaso, finished March 7
025&026) Macbeth by William Shakespeare, finished March 14
026) Fences by August Wilson, finished Ides of March
027) N Is for Noose by Sue Grafton, finished Ides of March

028 – 033
028) Ethel & Ernest by Raymond Briggs, finished March 20
029) Let's Go Exploring by Michael Hingston, finished March 20
030) Gentleman Jim by Raymond Briggs, finished March 20
031) The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, finished April 2
032) No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay, finished April 8
033) Letters to ta Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, finished April 9

034 – 040
034) King Lear by William Shakespeare, finished April 13
035) Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith, finished April 13
036) The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men by Carol Lynn Pearson, finished April 15
037) Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson, finished April 19
038) a novel by a friend, finished April 23
039) Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, finished April 27
040) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, finished May 3

041 – 044
041) The Birthday Party and The Room by Harold Pinter, finished May 6
042) When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer, finished May 11
043) Aquaman: Sub Diego by Will Pfeifer / Patrick Gleason / Christian Alamy, finished May 18
044) The Tragedy of King Leere, Goatherd of the La Sals by Steven L. Peck, finished May 22

045 – 051
045) Eric by Terry Pratchett, finished May 31
046) The Library Book by Susan Orlean, finished June 7
047) Sing to It by Amy Hempel, finished June 8
048) The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood, finished June 17
049) Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy, finished June 28
050) The Great Pie Robbery and Other Mysteries by Richard Scarry, finished July 1
051) "O" Is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton, finished July 1

052 – 056
052) The Diary of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain, finished July 1
053) Witchy Eye by D.J. Butler, finished July 2
054) The Tree of Life by Terence Malick, finished July 9
055) Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination by Brian Jay Jones, finished July 10
056) Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel edited by Richard H. Minear, finished July 26

057 – 061
057) Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, finished July 27
058) Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg, finished July 29
059) The Cat Behind the Hat: The Art of Dr. Seuss, finished August 4
060) Please, Please Call Me to the Bishopric by Jett Atwood, finished August 6
061) How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr, finished August 8

062 – 066
062) Giraffes on Horseback Salad by Josh Frank, Manuela Pertega, Tim Heidecker; finished August 10
063) Snow White by Matt Phelan, finished August 12
064) Billie the Bee by Mary Fleener, finished August 16
065) Manfried the Man by Caitlin Major and Kelly Bastow, finished August 16
066) A Fire Story by Brian Fies, finished August 20

067 – 072
067) Wheat: Humor & Wisdom of J. Golden Kimball edited by Mikal Lofǵren, finished August 25
068) Witchy Winter by D.J. Butler, finished August 27
069) Mary, Mary and other plays by Jean Kerr, finished August 28
070) Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, finished September 5
071) Trish Trash: Rollergirl from Mars by Jessica Abel, finished September 7?
072) How To by Randall Munroe, finished September 9

073 – 080
073) Mort by Terry Pratchett, finished [some time between September 10 and 15]
074) Scooby Apocalypse by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis et al, finished September 15
075) Thistle and Brilliant by Wren Tuatha, finished September 22
076) Macbeth by Wm Shakespeare, finished Oct 4
077) Macbeth by Wm Shakespeare, finished Oct 4
078) Miles Morales: Spider-Man Vol. 1: Straight Out of Brooklyn by Ahmed Garron et al, finished October 10
079) The Autumnlands, Volume One: Tooth and Claw by by Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey, finished October 13
080) Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, finished October 17

081 – 086
081) Hansel & Gretel Get the Word on the Street by Al Ortolani, finished October 19
082) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, finished October 23
083) The Autumnlands Volume 2: Woodland Creatures by Kurt Busiek and Ben Dewey, finished October 28
084) Toil and Trouble by Mairghread Scott with Kelly & Nichole Matthews, finished November 1
085) Compulsive Comics by Eric Haven, finished November 2
086) Apocalypse Bow Wow by James Proimos III and James Proimos Jr., finished November 11


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