Marrowing by Maryrose Larkin
(airfoil chapbooks, Portland, OR, 2011)
The Name of This Intersection Is Frost by Maryrose Larkin
(Shearsman Books, Exeter, Great Britain, 2011)
First off, I just read a New Yorker film critic who when referring to Werner Hertzog said something like: “Hertzog is a nut. A good kind of nut.” And so Maryrose too is all that. And yes, for me, no problem comparing Ms. Larkin and Mr. Hertzog. Indeed. Nutty is sure a way to describe both Maryrose as a person (ality) and poet . She has little self constraint. She is more engaged in living then most I know, if not all. She delights in most everything she engages. Example: When last my wife Sue and I visited Portland we stayed at a downtown hotel. Maryrose picked us up to drive us to the reading I was giving across town. At the time a tremendious thunderstorm was hovering over downtown Portland. Crashing and banging and pouring and strobe lighting slashing across a dark sky. Unusual enough to call the workers out onto the sidewalks looking up into the sky in awe. Was like a scene from a Batman movie. Maryrose arrived with windshield whipers whapping and dripping all over. Laughing she was, as always. And she didn’t seem to notice the storm. Not at all. Way she is. Thrilled absolutely to see us. Period. Her poetics is like that, or so it seems to me. So astioudly focused yet bouncing off in several directions that can only be found and or followed by close attention.
Consider this text from the chapbook Marrowing:
Vessel ladder notation
The river shifts
Image raise and arm
In whole joy
A notation is
That’s all I can do is ask you to consider the text. All you ever want to know is here….how she does it and does it again through the remaining pages. Words are repeated and used again but wringing out tense and connection becomes mental boomerang for sure. Here….”joy sounded/in whole joy”. One could ponder on that, spin it around and around for a long time. Isn’t that THE “joy sounded”. Is Ms. Larkin giving us direction? Well not so sure. What she does do….and I think it is where her considerable abilities shine, is drop in and out of all her texts various connective(ness) which trip us into ‘seeing’(?) what it is she is trying to do. And does. Does with the greatest passion and thought. That is why reading through Marrowing is a pleasure all around. The time spent just getting use to the way it is presented, the sound in my head, the questioning of meaning implied or not, the way it is arranged and meant to be seen and heard and reacted to. Ms. Larkin I am suspect spends great amounts ot time with all this…doesn’t she….or does she just ‘toss em’. Could she even.
That title, Marrowing? Go figure. Chewing away the meat. Biting through the bone. Sucking out the best part inside? Huh! Call me mollycoddled just now. (So it was near marrow in the dictionary.)
I suppose it would be very, very tasteless of me to admit that I am over simplifying all of Ms. Larkins' poetics. So maybe that is the only way for me to enjoy them/it. Is that wrong. I can sure see things that resonate…words reused and repeated as if there might be, to someone who knows or who has asked, a method of repetition in her poetics. Well why not. Don’t we all. But without the particulars, I am okay. I do not need to know the basic thearoms (if that it what it is) which describe the technique. It is enough for me to have her put this in front of me. That I can spend time with it. And admit the pleasure that come s from that.
Ditto The Name of This Intersection Is Frost, a book length text in two parts….Inverse and Late Winter 30. This work is long enough and deep enough and wide enough to have a worked depth reflected in the recurring attention to worked landscape in Ms. Larkins' world. We join with her as she works with, works on, works in (deep) or barely notices some change out the corner of a window. And what is that but attention. If I may…and I may be stuffing a boot in my mouth here…say that Ms. Larkin stands with one other west coast poet Ms. J. Kyger who lives a bit south of Portland in Bolinas, Ca. These two. A like? Not at all. Well, do they both have an ability to drag a reader giggling and gasping for breath along with them in a voyage of discovery that may be textual, heartful, mindful or just real.
A bit from Late Winter 30:
“… sky eyed facing east to the visible and why haze late
winter thirty why cross section rhododendron why whirl
why not other/not mother sorrowside sun wings velum or
river violet lifting wild anesthetic shiver inner life……”
I think that reading Maryrose Larkin is one of the pure joys of reading today’s poetics.
McCrary waits for his Social Security check in Lawrence, Kansas. His most recent publication, Es Verdad, a 'photo essay' of baby horses in the Yucatan combines stark pictures with poetic text guaranteed to wrench a tear from the reader. An online edition available by email. See below. He also lurks in the basement of the 8th Street Taproom, a local dive which holds regular poetry readings. He participates in the open mic and operates a book table. (Hint-send stuff to give away) email:
Editor's Note: To date, jim mccrary is the only reviewer allowed to post a reviewer photo of himself because he's so bloody charming. To wit, here he is with Iris: