How does the brain collect information? How is what we know categorized and sorted? What would happen if we tracked each thought as it passed? What new relationships might be possible if each thing we witnessed and lived were not relegated to this or that kind of experience, but were seen holistically, like leaves on one tree?
In this chapbook, Laressa Dickey allows us brief entry into the mind at work. A richness of imagery welcomes the reader—monks in tangerine robes, vinegar and cucumbers floating in a sink, tin pieces stripped from a barn—and Dickey complements this with an accumulation of moments, questions, and reported speech. Her speaker remembers, sees, asks, imagines, feels, and we are simply to follow and to make connections.
From thought to thought, image to image, poem to poem, none of the directness of narrative. Take these poems purely on the surprise and wealth of their language; take them on the pictures they make in the mind; take them as the fragments of things you can barely recall. They answer all these approaches. In Mimesis, synaptic, Laressa Dickey manifests the way a mind moves, and shows the integrity even of disparate thoughts. All in one body, her speaker seems to say; all in one mind. “What you say is poetry if you mean what you say”, Dickey writes. And she means it.
Advance praise for Mimesis, synaptic:
From Arlene Kim, author of What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes?: Slipping into Laressa Dickey’s poems is like unexpectedly finding yourself in a museum you never knew was on this street, though you’ve lived here for years. But here you are: you’re walking through some strange, charming exhibit of small, quick things pressing against their frames, wriggling against the glass of their prose and poem bell jars (“every book a man book”).
No—it’s like wandering through a hallway of doors, all cracked open just enough for you to peep in (“look at my brother stand in my Easter dress,” “vinegar and cucumbers floating in the kitchen sink”), to eavesdrop at each (“I crossed the room to put my ear down”). No—it’s like the first time you watched one of those mesmerizing hand-turned projection films in grade school, someone’s hand turning the reel at every beep to the next picture (“flaps of fake brick siding”) and the next (“pack of hounds and inbred sheepdogs”).
Printed in an edition of 100 (numbered).
Or, no—it’s like slowly recovering from or slipping into a lovely kind of amnesia—each marvelous poem like a memory coming back to you (“were we outside in an old metal lawn chair sunk back with the sitter”), or like a memory waving goodbye (“vernal rocket of her hair”), calling out next time, next time (“cover the mind with a hat”). And when it’s gone, when it’s over, when you’ve left the hall, the gallery, the film—you turn around because you want it to happen again.
From Maria Damon, author of Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader and pleasureTEXTpossession: Mimesis, synaptic maintains a delicate interrogative openness: paratactical observation of the present moment’s delights and debacles manifests as embodiment, emmindment, unalienated but pleasantly tentative. Non-imperialistic sentences. “Just say where you go if you know.” And if you don’t know, that’s okay too.
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