157.1: Gillian Hamel:: [death I cause…] & [you are the sea…] & [the cold comes for her…]
21 October 2013
This week, Gillian Hamel explores the limits of anger and metaphor. In three untitled selections, Hamel marks her elaborations and her erasures using the typography of revision: full stops, caesuras, abrupt line breaks, strike throughs. Such typography tracks the emergence of the author's several selves: a self who suffers the living death of rush hour traffic, the self who no longer believes the sea can be used as metaphor. Hamel's particular accomplishment is this poetics of selving, of re-writing as a gesture of (hopeful? desperate?) recreation. "i'd better say sorry to grass," one of these selves admits in ["death i cause..."]. "an easy shape pushing upward." This acknowledgment carries with it a complex bundle of emotions, ranging from coy to irritated. But the apology (which never comes) also foregrounds the speaker's difference from the grass and its easy shape. For these poems are anything but the easy shape of a blade: reworked and rewritten, they are registers of the limits and doubts that make becoming possible. The self, beautifully articulated as a "re-recording" of moving hands, is both mark and gesture, both writing and movement. These poems demand that we mark the sediments of our movement, that we record the shirt buttons, grass, hair, the injured mouth, even that wetness felt in Tokyo. Only through such language will we discover the chrysalis of who (or rather what) we are.