Rebecca Letters, Laynie Browne (Kelsey St. Press, 1997)
Three longish sequences, mostly – tho not strictly – prose poetry. A comfortable word order & syntax; these are for the most part standard sentences, save for the sorts of fragments one familiarly encounters in semi-formal writing ("The story of the ghost. The story of Rebecca."). The title sequence, "Rebecca Letters," is the longest & most striking, hovering around the Rebecca Browne (the poet's great-grandmother?) whose 1898 photograph appears on the cover. A dream of an "other history," a dream of language in which undefined "he"s, "you"s, & "she"s move on the fringes of consciousness. The shock of strangeness in the individual lexical choices ("curling circlets of rain") and in the movement from sentence to sentence, sometimes accretive, logical, sometimes sharply disjunctive. "A Sliding ontology." A dream of recovering the past, recovering memory, "a web to be reunited": "Is there a dependable urn into which I might deposit the results of all that has been burned?" An insinuative art too subtle to be summarized.