Tuesday, December 20, 2011



Radiator by NF Huth
(Laughing/Ouch/Cube/Publications / Leafe Press, Nottingham, U.K. and Claremont, CA, 2011)

If I had to choose one word to describe my reaction to NF Huth’s Radiator, it would be “affection.” I read the book several times and each time I sense an invitation to settle in, as if the book is a home instead of a, well, book. No doubt it’s partly because of its opening; here’s its first poem:

This time, she was asleep during the shoveling. She awoke
to a morning full of snow, to daylight this time and an entire
day to be.

Certainly, the poems of the first section, “Here. It.” Facilitate the invitation to nestle as it seems they are rooted in the quotidian about a house and its surroundings. Yet Radiator is not merely connected to the domestic. It is immediately followed by a section of poems entitled “Swallow” that focuses on reaction (responding to the world?), whether it is focusing on, as one poem is entitled, “mouth," to significance(s):
The way fire
extends a wall

the way syllables are
dropped and days
and Xed
to make sure

(from "hold")

The charm of these poems is that even when one presents a third-party pronoun like “she,” the receptive reader can easily transform it to an “I”, thus inhabiting the poem—as I did in this poem

She wondered what to do with all the dates in her head,
the times and places, th way the light had looked, the
drumming of her heart against her ribs, her breath too fast,
too tight, too shallow to keep blood moving, how she had
felt that she must move about her house with her eyes and
ears closed, not touching anything not unfolding the tiny
piece of paper, not opening the book, and finally hoping to
stay asleep.

I think it’s notable that, while I initially thought to write about the wonderful music in these poems—there’s word play, diction is often pitch-perfect, and the gentle rhythms entice—I find myself focusing mostly on its “stories.” There is such an active, observant and observing mind present here, you see, that I’d rather converse with “her,” java or tea in hand, smelling the old radiator that is warming us both:
It is 1:27 a.m. and she thinks:
somehow the snowbanks have pushed
me flat against the window
and I cannot see
around my squashed nose. My unborn children
have decayed behind the radiators
their clanking keeping me awake. I should
stop scribbling in the margins. Because
I am ready
you would slip in easily and perhaps
the rocking of the bed
will stop that damn chattering.


Eileen Tabios does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects as she's its editor, but she is pleased to point you elsewhere to reviews of her books. Her newest book SILK EGG: Collected Novels is reviewed by Zvi A. Sesling in Boston Area Poetry Scene; by Michael Leong in Big Other; by Alan Baker in Litter; and by rob mclennan. Stephen Hong Sohn also reviews SILK EGG along with two other books, NOTA BENE EISWEIN and FOOTNOTES TO ALGEBRA: Uncollected Poems 1995-2009 at Asian American Lit Fans.

1 comment:

na said...

Of related interest is Tom Beckett’s interview of NF Huth in this issue at