Friday, January 15, 2010

“You don’t fail once/ you keep failing.” (Heather Christle, “Our Sense of Achievement”)

The poems by Heather Christle featured in Octopus Magazine number twelve “invite us…to join their endless adventures” (Lisa Olstein). “Half-Hedgehog Half-Man” begins with “talk to me” which immediately engages the speaker, and reader, in a conversation with a tree. Just as the reader acclimates to speaking to a tree it becomes clear that the “I” is half-hedgehog half-man. Christle’s poetry attempts to locate, articulate, and represent the speaker just before the subject position shifts and the speaker is seen anew. There is a familiar strangeness in the act of this searching for the “I” and finding the “I” only to have the “I” shift again. Haven’t we all questioned who we are, what effect and affect we have had, if any, and where we are from? In “Plot the Height and Distance” the speaker shakes a tree only to find that once fallen out of the tree “it was not me [the speaker] making things happen” as the tree shakes without the speaker. The familiarity felt in Christle’s poetry is of the cycle of searching, finding and falling back, yet again, into dislocation, misunderstanding or a new way of seeing. Christle expresses more precisely this condition of being: her poetry driving directly into a revelation about human subjectivity.

Heather Christle's poetry is published online in Octopus Magazine number twelve:

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