Friday, May 2, 2008

erica kaufman. censory impulse. Big Game Books.

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 na├»ve 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.