Thursday, October 27, 2005

Has anyone read Sarah Arvio? She's 51, and Knopf published her first book, Visits From The Seventh, in 2002. If you haven't read it, you've probably noticed the book in stores--it's the lovely light blue one with the bubbles--and thought, "that's some random fancy Knopf book, of no interest to me." That's what I thought, anyway. Her second book is coming out early next year, again from Knopf. I'm reading it along with the first one, and you know what? she's a really good poet. She's a poet of doubt and confusion, of being overwhelmed. Wordplay heads off clear insight at the crucial moment. Her voice, which figures the above mentioned qualities with its frantic playfulness, is more central to the meaning of the work than her content. Here's are some typical lines from the first book:

Well, the night is blooming. Death may not be
(as the atheists would have it) nothing
at all, but rather (think many of us
who've abandoned god for a sense of god)

a moment to move through, on the other
side of which to find, no one knows, but more
than worms and darkness.


And here is something from the forthcoming book:

...and did I know I'd have a host;

no, a line of sheets is never a bed,
a gaggle of hosts is never a love,
a host is never as good as a home,

a ghost as good as a dog or a god.
But I had my heart, always had my heart
for a god and a home as much as it hurt.


Her style doesn't change much between the two books, but we've got a bit of Fanny Howe's doubt-filled faith, an intentionally thwarted striving toward Gluck's clarity, and a touch of the lyrical play of Lucie Brock-Broido. The frantic energy is hers. She may not be 25 and the next big thing, but there's certainly something here I can use.


Anonymous said...

She's NOT a good poet -- more along the lines of terrible.

Craig Morgan Teicher said...

Anonymous, who are you, and what makes her so terrible? Did she poop in your porridge or something?