John Pappas's Reviews > Almost Invisible: Poems

Almost Invisible by Mark Strand
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Mar 22, 12

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Read from March 21 to 22, 2012

Mark Strand contemplates death as a self-abnegating, other-creating force in 50 enigmatic, elliptical prose poems which flicker in and out of sight like Will-o'-Wisps on the edges of your vision. Structured as quasi-fables with no morals (or with the moral being that there is no moral), these self-effacing poems present the impossibility of life, love and knowing with glee and longing. On their own, each poem is like a quick sketch -- a wry joke, a half-remembered dream -- but taken as a whole these poems constitute a more substantial gallery of remembered and imagined moments -- highly symbolic and intensely personal: a series of psychoanalytic self-portraits of a being on the knife's edge between life and death. Still, Strand's knack for inventive weather imagery, parallelism, sense of musicality and purposeful ambiguity is rarely on display as it is in Blizzard of One, The Continuous Life or his recent New and Selected Works. Instead, Stand seems to rely on a few pages from Charles Simic's playbook -- sequestered cities and lonely hotels dominate much of this landscape, without creating the encroaching and total paranoia Simic creates. Perhaps this will reward multiple readings, but only the most loyal Strand fans may find out.

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