In Jamie Townsend’s work, hardly anything purports to be a window. Common language, snips of images, natural landscape, and cubicle ambience collapse into rich textures, often clipped into little relics, posed against one another. This is definitely the case in Matryoshka, one of his three chapbooks out this year, where sense is barely off the word before a new thought cuts in to comment on the stanza’s unfolding. This has the effect of making one feel intimately involved with a mind at work in language, while simultaneously once removed from the phenomena that produced it. Looped and processed, “the complex/ mobile remains/ more than expression.”
Jamie Townsend is organizer of the c/c reading series, and a co-founder of con/crescent, a chapbook publisher & magazine focused on discursive essay / creative non-fiction. He is author of the chapbooks STRAP/HALO (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs; 2011), Matryoshka (Little Red Leaves Textile Editions; 2011), and The Dome (Ixnay Press, 2011). His poetry and critical work has appeared in various publications, including The Cultural Society, Gam, Wheelhouse, Volt, Elective Affinities, Jacket2, The Poetry Project Newsletter, & TRY.
What does it mean to be solitary? One, or one of many? Is that distinction merely a function of language or something else entirely? Partially? When? How? I’m drawn to Laura Solomon’s work, particularly in her most recent book, THE HERMIT, for the way it engages the meaning of solitude (and also, therefore, relation) not just as a question or concept handled at arm’s length, but as something lived and breathed, felt and sung. Without excluding any means of inquiry or mode of reception—be it sensual, logical, visionary, etc.—her poems approach what’s “incomprehensible” via the observable world and don’t shy away for a second from the swings (at times huge and other times, tiny) between gratification and disappointment, and, especially, faith and doubt.
Laura Solomon was born in 1976 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her books include Bivouac (Slope Editions, 2002), Blue and Red Things (UDP, 2007), and The Hermit (UDP, 2011). Other publications include a chapbook, Letters by which Sisters Will Know Brothers (Katalanché Press 2005) and Haiku des Pierres / Haiku of Stones by Jacques Poullaoueq, a translation from the French with Sika Fakambi (Editions Apogée, 2006). Her poetry has appeared in magazines across North America and Europe and has been translated into ten languages. Most recently she has lived in Paris, Philadelphia, and Verona, Italy.