Wright, Jeffrey Cyphers. "Poetry Roundup." The Brooklyn Rail (May 2008)
Lewis Warsh, Inseparable
(Granary Books, 2008)
Lewis Warsh—luminous waltz. These writings possess an otherness, an alterity that persists as they switch from verse to prose to poetry. The introspective narrator achieves a sui generis quality, unlike anything you’ve read before.
Sometimes structures surface. “Consecutive Sentences” suggests non-sequiturs, but Warsh pushes the ball forward by repeating words or themes. Similarly, by hopping from pronoun to pronoun in section 13 of “The Flea Market at Kiel,” he frames the reflecting pond. The traces we follow aren’t strictly linear since “we’re changing contexts at full speed.” Still, it’s clear someone is talking directly to us: “Finish this sentence…."
The poet draws from copious notebooks, making observations that toggle between philosophical and pedestrian. His convincing balancing act admits the proposed and the overheard.
“Or more to the point,” the poems resonate. The titles of the thirty-five poems are laconic and catchy: “Flight Test,” “Disorderly Conduct” and “Last Cigarette,” But the poems are proliferous as Warsh circles his target and reports in from advantageous vantages.
You can get wonderfully lost in these poems where “We float out past the reef & the rocks.” Present and past commingle, propelling the words into the future. Memories, places, people and experiences are banked. The poet’s steady voice kindles them as he breathes through the lines.