Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Low Pouring Stars George J. Farrah

The Low Pouring Stars 
Farrah, Geroge J.

  Review byAlice Weiss

In Geroge J. Farrah’s Low Pouring Stars, the speaker is searching for an autobiography. This is the title of the last poem in the book, but it is also the underlying theme. What is fascinating about the poet’s process of search is that the speaker couples, not only surprising images or similes, but predicates, as for example in “Daybreak,”

grows heavy
& light

as beauty
distance to survive

The book proceeds by undermining proposition with image, abstract with uncoupled concrete, thus in “Ash,” where the conceit of the poem leans on the drift of ash in the air to portray attachment, a lovely contradiction, the speaker begins,
Born to the baths
we need of course. . .
. . .I am omnipresent. . .
withholding humiliation
from community ears . . .

a smooth girl consumed with guilt
the behemoth of sand
the sweet corner of her lip
the volumes of night written again and again
in her

It should be obvious from the quoted sections that however philosophical the poet’s aim, he counters the heaviness of it by writing in forms that emphasizing space and stops. Lists of things in and out of sentences move across the page in a kind of lace. In a “Disregard for your False Anatomy” (certainly the best title in the book) “Crayons of eternity’s misses” the speaker identifies as his favorites and that coupling culminates in “tins of handwriting/ that accumulate daily/ rare clothing.” Or in “Eyelatch,” his “artificial right eye/ where the debris of infinity/ has lodged/. . .

we will not crumble
(forever) in the corner

without a room
a body . . .
in all
of your seasons
at once

we take in
so much of the world

through our hands

Another, longer poem, “Out of the Window,” seems like an elegy for the loss of self, “a palm of a voice sweats/’this is where I saw the day/ defeat our voices crying.’ In “The Edge of a Reservoir,” a woman speaks to him
I am a fire pet
she said. . .
. . .
a relentlessness like
the leaves
the grass is
the whole world. . .
. . .
I think maybe

you’re a contribution
of pouring stars
down my shirt

he says

but the year wanders, they wander.

The airiness, indeed the quality of being philosophical in the phrase, “but the year wanders”
even of cliché, is stabilized and an reinvigorated by the next and final, “they wander,” ambiguously pointing to years, and also to the couple, under the stars pouring down his shirt
like a spilled cup of coffee. I love the exactness of that image and the seductiveness of the
address to his ‘fire pet.’ And the way the poet seems to be able to couple delight and mourning.
The book is aptly titled The Low Pouring Stars for the flow of images, form and their play with statement and abstraction, distances and stops.

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