New York Times

For Space and Chains

“Space, in Chains” — what a dead-on title for a book of poems. Though made of mere words, certain poems capture time and space in their nets of rhythm and sound, then bind them to the page until freed by the reader. It’s the tricky work of word wizards, and Laura Kasischke is composed in that company. She delights in the spooky yet delicate: “the chaos of birdsong after a rainstorm, the steam rising off the asphalt,” “water lilies and a skull in a decorative pond.”

In these poems Ms. Kasischke is the quiet but rapt girl who broods on the twilit porch, soaking up the dark murmurs of Leonard Cohen or memorizing Emily Dickinson. In “Space, between humans & gods,” she writes of “ringing the quiet,” and that silent knell suffuses the book, as in “Wormwood”: “So it is at Chernobyl:/The Ferris wheel rusting/for decades in a forest.”

“Space, in Chains” is like five days of light rain on a scull down the River Styx. And, who knows, maybe the wan and swoony girls devoured by the “Twilight” series will grow up to one day read these poems instead.

"Kasischke's intelligence is most apparent in her syntactic control and pace, the way she gauges just when to make free verse speed up, or stop short, or slow down."

For Gardening in the Dark

"Laura Kasichke's poems probe the lives of supposedly ordinary women along with the extraordinary emotional tumult those lives conceal." 


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