Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1 + 1 = 1: The Consequent Inconsequentia of Derek Henderson & Derek Pollard

by Nate Pritts :: http://www.natepritts.com

Derek Henderson & Derek Pollard. INCONSEQUENTIA. BlazeVOX Books: 2010.

Through the haze of call & response, the lingering mist of collage / pastiche, of collaborative fusion that leads us forcibly through the stumbling & visibly wrought syntax, Derek Henderson & Derek Pollard have found a way to write one book together, to present single poems with multiple voices, to think themselves into a broken math computation where 1 + 1 = 1 & the only thing divisible is the self from what it loves.

Despite a colossal & buoyant sense of playfulness that runs throughout these poems, the vital strain is one of crumbling sadness, bumbling in the face of loss – a kind of hard-headed certainty in the face of the inevitability that “Things happen. / People die. // […] We balance” (19).

This constant tug of war is the shining kernel at the center of the book – the very fact that the book presents itself as one yowling utterance though written by two people. What saves us? is the question asked over & over again. Implicitly, our buddies. Our friends save us.

The poetry seems jumpy in spots; a kind of focused attention is brought to bear on the presentations piled up though the focus shifts subtly yet quickly. We feel this both through the imagery & the literal narrative / associative blossoming from one line to the next as well as in the way the syntax itself generates the insights & movements of the poem:

Responders. Respond. re spawned.
New governmentalists. spawned.
Returns. Returners. Reason Has Turned.

This kind of freewheeling jangle serves as a best characterization for the collection over – the collection of poems, of words & lines, & this collection of Dereks – wherein reciprocity is the thing whether between, among, or casually flung.

Nate Pritts is the author of The Wonderfull Yeare (Cooper Dillon), as well as two previous full-length books of poems – Sensational Spectacular (BlazeVOX) & Honorary Astronaut (Ghost Road Press). He is the founder & principal editor of H_NGM_N.

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