by Krystal Languell
Pages: 88; Size: 6 x 9
Series: Akron Series in Poetry
Quite Apart asks “what about after survival?” in a chronicle of attempts to have a heart in a rough world. Haunted by work and its wasted hours, the book offers a glimpse of self-rendered as subtext beneath the sheen of productivity. Inventive formal poems provide a kind of alibi, mirroring the inflexibility of the environment—driving through mountains, bleeding in alleys, losing keys in a bar parking lot—to allow some emotion to pass through, tenderness intact.
The action among forms of address moves across the sections from direct to readerly, to more distant, back to the last/lost sequence, and ultimately into an intimate direct address, which builds up a reserve of trust adequate to collapse the distance of a cool operator. Mediated by grammatical invention, the collection enacts the making of an authentic place and self, reckoning with difficult truths (failures, omissions) to arrive at a state of peace having weathered some storms. It returns to a core and singular perspective, a knowing eye, that captures absurdity and tragedy, the absurdity of tragedy, to find—beyond vigilance—a balance between acceptance and bucking, which is perhaps another name for love.