Formal poetry is on the decline, hmm? Perhaps the art of line drawing balancing the human form and flower ornament is also gone the way of the dodo?
Announcing: the return of the much-missed dodo, a fully-grown adult. Karen Tellefsen's intricate ink drawings dazzle and lace the reader's eye, lavishly snaking in crisp relief around the measured strains of her metered stanzas.
The poems are short, easily fitting on a page with luxurious white space to spare. The lines are moderately short, the range of topic, mostly lyrical. This book will soothe, not snag. Yet it might well knock out that pencil -- and pen -- out of one's hand: The material, written or drawn, is exemplary.
The subtleties of construction could be enjoyed just for themselves. Or one could let the iambs and the glissando take one for a measured ride. This is poetry -- everyone will agree.
In sum, Karen's debut book is a virtuoso performance: when one hears a solo violonist tear through Ravel's Tzigane with daring and precison, this book may well come to mind.
Her face is like a feather, but her skull is more a stone.
Her hair is coiled in dreadlocks that resist the sculptor's comb.
Stalagtite stoicism is bred deeper than the bone.
She rises very early, and she always sleeps alone.
Her skin is thin as plaster milk; her fragrance is of chalk
that scratches on a dusty slate. Her every morning walk
is briskly clipped and measured so she never stops to talk
of alabaster fountains or foundations of basalt.
She models flesh of perfect form while posing on her block,
so stiff, she never winces while cosmetic chisels knock
her less than lovely bits away. A stone may only mock
the breath that shatters life, and she is marble, solid rock.
Copyright © April 1997 Karen Tellefsen
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Copyright © 1997 A Small Garlic Press. All rights reserved.
Created 1997/5/7. Updated last on 2008/5/2.