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Eyewear Publishing

Ink And Ink And Flesh And Length

Ink And Ink And Flesh And Length

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By Anne F. Walker

Poetry - Paperback

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These 100-word prose poems are contained. They spread between sections. They break out of themselves. They repeat. They reflect on landscapes, bodies, travel, time, and rooted memories, concentrating on precision of image, narrative, and language. All different shapes, colours, and textures fly over and in the multiple same-sized square boxes of the prose poem form. 

This collection began on the train journey between the San Francisco Bay Area and Toronto, and is supported by Walker's appreciation and integration of visual art techniques. It bursts with various narrative voices, synaesthetic and surprising imagery, and a fluidity between seemingly historical events and dreamlike voyaging.

 

Anne F. Walker completed doctoral work at UC Berkeley after beginning her poetry career in Toronto. The Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Creates, the Ontario Arts Council, and bpNichol Memorial Foundation honored her work with numerous grants. UC Berkeley twice awarded her poetry the Eisner Prize. It supported her poetics with a President’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship and Mentored Research Award Fellowships. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, teaching writing at San José State University.

 

 

"Words ease." So says the speaker in these luminous 100 word prose poems, which glide by like the linked cars of an overnight train. The poems are haunted by whiffs of specific places but also by a deep sense of placelessness, of moving through the world like a phantom. Like a series of lyrical signs posted along a lonely highway, these poems map a kind of pilgrimage into the past and a reckoning with the present. They grant a dreamy, almost bodiless feeling of being an eternal traveler. Moment after glimmering moment surfaces, each a faceted gem that contains quiet fire. - Amy Gerstler

Walker’s “mixed-genre prose poems in 100-word frames” demonstrate to readers a new formal lens through which to see with greater clarity simultaneously the perceiving self and the self’s perceptions of the “landscapes and bodies and memories rooted there.” Poetry always has been a site for breaking open and thus revitalizing the language we use, the language which creates the limits of what we are able to say, and thus to know of our lives. These narratives are surprising in their candor and intimacy, their often micro-specificities. Their forms subtly ask us to consider the structures we use to hold experience. Walker refuses approaches that simply focus on the norm and ignore or expel all else; this poet never suggests that there is an easy, clearly definable way to use language to assess cogently the struggle to describe. Rather, Walker is frank in appraising the guess-work of any portrayal of the actual in language: “Knowing it has something to do with me, locked in the narrative.” Ink and Ink and Flesh and Length is formally porous and yet creates a ground that the speaking agent’s expanding perceptions can test, and thus trust. In this way, the poems offer each of us a vision that might facilitate our own intrepid explorations, our own unique adaptations and evolutions of the language containers we create to further the work of our own perceiving minds. Rusty Morrison

Anne F. Walker’s fifth full-length collection enlists mixed-genre prose poetry to stun with its indelible imagery that encompasses both lightness and depth. Striking lines engage the reader on every page such as “oval skull of winter trees like yellow dye in veins” and “gas blue flame heats a silver percolator in the dark” from a sequence of poems entitled “Good Use of Beautiful Light (on Clinton Street).”  Each 100-word piece employs precise and gorgeous language that is compact yet expansive. In the poem “William” she writes, “89-year-old hands shake. My sister pours his ritual tea in small fragile cream-white cups with watercolor-blue lines.”  This elegant and poignant collection navigates the human experience with astonishing grace and emotional honesty. - Maw Shein Win

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