Saturday, December 4, 2010
"Blake’s Tree begs to be read out loud. Uncanny and spot-on, the repetition of words and phrases which levitate within a controlled form. Lushness in the economy of word. Lyric and narrative commingle. This is serious and necessary fun."
William Blake played on his own name in “The Little Black Boy” (Blake = Black) and whirled us between nouns and verbs when he wrote, “Damn braces, Bless relaxes.” In these six-line, stanzaic pieces, Joel Chace follows Blake’s example—not only his “tree” but his ”poetree”—and offers enigmatic phrases that tease us out of thought. For a moment we are freed from cause and effect, from everything that insists on logic, and allowed to enter a space in which everything happens at once. “Negative capability” flourishes in this world of beautiful whatevers—where “over the riven and through” is not a typo and “light snapped on off whole city’s ponderable spook” is a perfectly reasonable, complete thing to say. “The world is all that is the case,” Wittgenstein wrote memorably. But he also wrote, “Thought can be of what is not the case.” These poems offer a beautiful release from our everyday sorrows, joys and dispositions. Climb Blake’s tree and see exquisite explorations of “what is not the case.”
By Joel Chace
Blue & Yellow Dog Press