If Not Metamorphic

By Brenda Iijima
(Ahsahta Press, Paperback, 9781934103104, 128pp.)

Publication Date: January 2010

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Description
Poetry. IF NOT METAMORPHIC uses the long form, frequently in choral antiphon, to ask what kind of pressures exert change--as in the title poem, where war and human cruelty have turned even the kelp murderous--and what exactly is changed: sometimes words take on other forms before our eyes, sometimes sentences try on new endings in shameless view, and puns on popular culture poke through the deepest meditation. These poems truncate and disrupt narrative, borrowing now from the parataxis of renku, now from the verse-prose travelogue of haibun, but do not foreclose the possiblity of ephiphany; Iijima still envisions a "Great Swan" that holds within it creation and destruction: "Eureka / Or death?" The book was Peter Gizzi's selection for runner-up in the 2007 Sawtooth Poetry Prize contest.
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