Thursday, June 26, 2008

Geraldine Monk: She Kept Birds

She Kept Birds, Geraldine Monk (Slack Buddha Press/La Purruque Editions, 2004)


A dandy little chapbook from one of the most reconditely interesting contemporary English poets, She Kept Birds is something of an avian 80 Flowers. Each of these 21 short-lined (often one word per line) poems is titled with the Linnaean binomial for a particular bird, & the text that follows is culled in various ways – I take it – from a birding handbook. It's wonderful how Monk plays registers & derivations off one another, giving the reader – in a remarkably spare text – a sense of the history & vernacular weight that these birds carry in the British Isles. English as birdsong.

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