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On Tact, and the Made Up Worldby Michele Glazer
Michele Glazer's On Tact, and the Made Up World is outstanding. These are poems executed with live-wire exactitude; even where one cannot have certainty, Glazer presents her reader with the option that absence is certain enough. And there are absences. "Holes" appear frequently throughout these poems — holes of vision, tunnels that worm out past the point of visibility, forcing the eye to doubt what could constitute the "made up world," from the blown-glass flowers of Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka to the "girl in pink moving from lap to lap to lap." Hole, deriving from 'hol' (Old English), means hollow. Interesting then, that whole derives from 'hool,' meaning healthy, unhurt. One less "o," that perfect shape of hole-ness, and we are left in the cavity of something less complete. It is in this sunken grade that these poems reside, not without a keen and spirited awareness, not without a complex appreciation for the broken thing. "Name everything that can break," Glazer says, and we can't; it's too much.
"The elliptical, Carveresque title of Michele Glazer's first poetry collection, 1997's It Is Hard to Look at What We Came to Think We'd Come to See, would be equally appropriate for her latest, On Tact, and the Made Up World. Both titles acknowledge a sense of indeterminacy, the postmodern mistrust of sensory perception, and the apprehension of reality as a constructed, interpretative condition. Glazer's 'made up world' is a landscape of detritus, of things so common and overlooked — a dead bird, soil, worms, fungus, a path 'made of things cast off' — that their foregrounding lends them an almost surreal, conceptual presence. Proceeding from Wallace Stevens's observation that the imagination 'makes use of the familiar to produce the unfamiliar,' Glazer presents the reader with mundane objects transformed by the subjective consciousness in ways that both de-familiarize them and endow them with additional, unforeseen dimensions." Fred Muratori, Rain Taxi (Read the entire Rain Taxi review)
Synopses & Reviews
Michele Glazer’s poems take on questions of being and value, exploring not just what is, but how it is. The poems trouble borders — between self and other, old and young, sick and well, stranger and intimate; between physical states in processes of decay; and between line and phrase, sentence and interruption, prose and poem, resisting the desire for something irrefutable with an abiding skepticism. The poems are drawn to missteps in perception and in language, those fractures that promise to crack open a surface to yield some other, greater meaning: "What is looked at is changed / what is looked for is gone." From this collision of passion and severity come poems that are strange and darkly beautiful.
"These poems seem balanced on the edge of an enormity, desperate to be changed or 'stained' by what's unseen. Continually changing scale, stuttering and beginning again at the border where perspective suddenly turns 'abstract,' Michele Glazer's poems remind me of Elizabeth Bishop's in their dramatization of the human cost of our need to map and know and understand." Thomas Gardner, author of A Door Ajar: Contemporary Writers and Emily Dickinson
"Glazer presents her artistry in prime flower: full, entrancing, and, most of all, vital." D. A. Powell
About the Author
Michele Glazer lives in Portland, Oregon, and teaches at Portland State University, where she directs the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing. Her previous books are It Is Hard to Look at What We Came to Think We'd Come to See and Aggregate of Disturbances
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