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Alphabet by Inger Christensen

read2write, January 14, 2013

This book is a beautiful work of art, mathematics, philosophy, light and music. These poems built with systematic and predictable structures are exactly right to contain such subject matter: chaotic, difficult and potentially devastating. The work of these poems is difficult: grappling with the mysteries of existence and the presence of potential annihilation in the form of nuclear warfare. Having the construct and familiarity of the alphabet coupled with a formulaic sequence of lines keeps the poems from becoming uncontainable and too impossible for the reader to bear. This book not only asks a reader to ponder great questions and sit with great mystery, it also provides historic reminders, images that act as signpost and warnings. This specificity and historic reference helps these poems to achieve a greater significance. They allow the reader to connect with that horror, to understand the dangerous potential, and to connect in a way that is accessible, even if one cannot walk away completely unchanged.
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