The self is accumulated, constructed by the thoughts & actions of our life as it is lived, & Kaufman is able to present this quotidian reality as anything but thanks to the shockingly clear & unadorned language of the poems in her book Censory Impulse. Here, the reader confronts a speaker whose consciousness evolves in a traceable way, & in a process that is deeply human:
so let’s talk. about something.
deep and wonderful.
You can almost hear the rush of childish enthusiasm in the first sentence, that pure drive for communication, clarified with an equally naïve suggested topic (“something”). What drives this book far into your head where it can resonate with the weight & essence of its sheer accuracy is its piercing clarity. All we need to do is talk, just talk, & it will be “deep and wonderful.”
These kinds of insights abound in Censory Impulse, which makes the book more like a reminder than news from the frontline. I’m more comfortable here than I am in most books, because there is a way in which I become the speaker. Without an overwhelming “I,” or a syntax aiming more to dazzle than delight, Kaufman is able to create a kind of participatory poetry. The insights enacted here are mine, too, since they are laid out like math problems with all but the answers chalked in.