#NowReading: Divide These by Saskia Hamilton

#NowReading: Divide These by Saskia Hamilton

One of the books I obsessively gathered amongst the stack I fished out when I discovered where the Harold Washington Library was hiding all the contemporary poetry (and here I thought they just weren’t getting with it!) was Divide These by Kaskia Hamilton. I was unfamiliar with this poet and randomly picked up her book in pursuits of exposing myself to poets I have yet to read. 

I did what I always do when trying to determine if a book is worth the potential late fees I will most likely accrue on my library card. I closed my eyes, flipped to a random page, began reading whatever poem was destined for me, and from there determined if the book in my hands would come to be a newfound love. Seeing as how I’m sitting here under my cozy covers and typing this blog, you can very well guess the outcome of my latest journey through the library stacks.

So, Divide These thus far: Dream-like. Phantom-ish. Real. Excitingly puzzling.

The first poem, “The Weight of the Inside of the Body,” is the welcome mat of the book. It does exactly what the title might imply and grounds me in what I am still not yet sure of. But I know that I know where I am although I don’t know exactly where I am, but wherever I am I am supposed to be here, ready, and standing before a doorway skirted with mists that will open up and invite me into its wonder and mystery. My curiosity will get the better of me and I will be fated to indulge that curiosity, enter in, and – .

Yeah, it really is like that. And I love it!

What I love so far about these poems is that it is just enough abstraction and narrative. I do miss the days where poetry took some figuring out, some inspection and deconstruction to discover its meaning, and this book carries elements of that. Ed Roberson once said that while LANGUAGE poetry appears abstract in nature, there is always a thread that can be followed throughout the poem that serves as its spine, its trail of bread crumbs to guide you through. (Now, those may not be his exact words, but you get the gist.) Hamilton’s poems carry this disposition, but also provide us with images we can grab a hold of and call out by name. When you feel like you may be treading off the path, she pulls you back in and reminds you that you are anything but lost. 

Anyhoo, as I said, I’ve just begun reading it and will most likely have more to concrete ideas to share.  However, it’s late and I’ve started to ramble. I’ll be sure to tell you more as I read and actually post up some excerpts so that all of this will make more sense. 

Goodnight, Dear Friends.

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