Roz Ito's Reviews > Left Having

Left Having by Jesse Seldess
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Aug 01, 11

bookshelves: poetry
Read in July, 2011

In Left Having, Jesse Seldess creates a beautifully solemn, highly attuned reading environment made of words. The words sculpt the white space of the page the way that objects sculpt the physical space of an art installation—I find myself circling back and around these spare lines of verse to pause & consider them from all aspects as if I were in a gallery or museum—and the words also sculpt the quiet of the reader’s silent reading mind with their shifting, evolving sounds.

Propelled by a grounded yet searching voice of incantation and the resonance of recurring vocabulary & phrases such as “left the ending,” “broke signaling,” “further,” “over and over in memory,” “I get the feeling that,” “thought,” “end,” and “happened,” Seldess’s poems are doing something unique & amazing with internal rhyme, if rhyme can even begin to describe the incisive turns in meaning embodied by closely aligned consecutive lines like “One word the other/One heard the other”.

These seemingly subtle shifts gather force & momentum as the poems spiral toward a convergent sense of understanding. Seldess reveals the limitless significance locked within a limited lexicon, the way that sensitive readers of human events & human intelligence continue to uncover insights buried beneath the rubble of history. These poems ring the changes of language, and I want to call this ringing an ethics. This book revolves around the notion of endings and does itself eventually end, but the haunting value of its feelingthinking-space lives on.
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