SOMEHOW by BURT KIMMELMANWILLIAM ALLEGREZZA reviews
Somehow by Burt Kimmelman
(Marsh Hawk Press, New York, 2005)
Burt Kimmelman’s Somehow is a work concerned with cycles and seasons of growth. The section “Late in a Slow Time” moves through a calendar year, examining closely nature and light, in a language that is tentative and perceptive—reading this section is like looking at finely detailed art to explore the subtlety of its craft. The cycles also emerge in the section “First Life” in which Kimmelman writes poems about his daughter’s birth and growth. These pieces are touching in their earnestness. We see glimpses of her growth and of her father’s through interacting with her. As with all of the pieces in this collection, a pensive tone, sometimes laced with sadness, perhaps quietness, pervades. For example, in “For Jane, Age Three:”
Saying goodnight is saying goodbye—
leave-takings are forever. When
you were born, time began—yet for you
there’s no such thing as time.
Or, take this poem, “Late February,” from later in the collection:
the sun, even
in the moment
of cold, crocus
pushing through soil
into the world.
In both of these pieces, Kimmelman focuses on daily experiences in ways that makes us take another look at them. He steps back to ponder, and in so doing, makes us do the same. Moreover, his intense focus on an image makes it no surprise that he’s concerned with painting, as he shows through mentioning works by Gerhard Richter and Sol Lewitt. His work is painterly in its conciseness, and he is well-aware of how to place the right word at the right turn of the line, which makes this collection one worth exploring slowly over time.
William Allegrezza teaches and writes from his base in Chicago. His poems, articles, and reviews have been published in several countries, including the U.S., Holland, Finland, the Czech Republic, and Australia, and are available in many online journals. Also, he is the editor of moria, a journal dedicated to experimental poetry and poetics, and the editor-in-chief of Cracked Slab Books. His books include The Vicious Bunny Translations, covering over, Temporal Nomads, Lingo, and Ladders in July.