Monday, September 28, 2009

Review of TWINE by Martha Boss

Review of TWINE by Martha Boss, March Hare Press, 200 Norfolk Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, 2009, 35 pages

By Barbara Bialick

Martha Boss, the author of this chapbook, declined to print a bio. No problem; she’s been a locally-loved poet for years and the lucky ones have copies of her previous chapbooks, individually hand-typed on a manual typewriter, with original drawings. Indeed, she penciled a sepia roll of twine to be printed for the cover, with the poems presented in typed form. There’s even a length of light brown twine wrapped around the spine and middle.

In the entry poem, “this twine” she notes: ”these beads on a string/this twisted existence of mine/this dna/encoded stranded string of me…in this earth…/in that sphere we share/once entwined, and then/undone,/still the same twine we wear/ & now redo in verse” Her poems are wry, sardonic, and yet beautiful streams that demand you to read the whole poem, one poem after the other, till the end of the book…

Contemplating the every day in light of the cosmos, she writes in “same idea”:
“there are some stars that/take years to burn out./these are thoughts it seems…some days it seems a dream/can only be realized in another dream/this must be what the earth is thinking.”

Or check “how do we know”: “how do we know/the accumulated hurt of millions/when daisies are picked/when trees are cut/…wasn’t it sad/when the machine broke/when houses foreclosed/when the air can’t breathe/when men sent to war can’t wait/to kill the enemy/when they come home & if they do/did you hear they sometimes shoot/themselves…”

Which leads us to “people use the word ‘heaven’ a lot” She wonders isn’t there really a heaven: “isn’t there a star over there with a/forest with nibbling deer & people/with fires & songs & pets to caress/and cross-stitch samplers that say/god bless our home?”

I could and will keep pulling quotes, but I say just read the book. As the author concludes about her craft in “there’s no end to a poem”: “it’s growing/showing up somewhere./it seems to end at the desk/& later pops up in the living room/…then it wakes up a good sleep/like an infant’s demand feeding/you feel like killing it./this poem/that cord/you can’t cut/…take it out for a walk./throw it in one of those trash bins/that recycle./it doesn’t care./it’s even ok/with being a bottle label.” She’s still hoping there really is a heaven we ourselves recycle to…


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