Monday, December 10, 2012

Poetry Monday: Jennifer Maiden's Liquid Nitrogen

The poems in Jennifer Maiden's sixteenth collection,  Liquid Nitrogen, are hard edged and political, building from the domestic to the political in verse that weaves Australian, US, and British politics into a triumverate that is, at once, humorous, pithy, terrifying, and cumulative. The work is always immediately topical, bringing in references so diverse that the poems seem to contain a universe of modern affairs built, through strange parataxes, into a narrative of our times. Somehow, amidst all the public activity, the poems retain their personal, intensely female perspective, and also remain, almost consistently, self-referential (meta-poetic if you like). Take for example, this excerpt from "Carina":

...I touch her arm.
It is stunningly cool but alive
within with information, like
liquid nitrogen, I say gently,
'This is a story.      The binary
nature of poetry, it's two-sided
structure of negative and positive,
whether metre, rhyme, caesura
or enjambment, is the same as the machines that made you,
computers, telescopes.'

A full review (and interview with Maiden) will follow, but for now, I'm enjoying dipping in and out of the poems, looking up the many historical and political references, and the exquisite patter.

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