Sean Endymion's Reviews > Toxic Flora: Poems

Toxic Flora by Kimiko Hahn
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's review
Nov 17, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: poetry, worst-shit-ever

Yeah… I don’t do “nature poetry”. Nor do I like it. I think it’s the most contrived and least interesting object for poetry possible. Well, at least Hahn tried something a little innovative – she uses scientific terms, a more conversational tone rather than a reverent one, and follows a bit of a stream-of-consciousness narrative structure.

But none of these creative facets really makes it for me. If fact, the stream-of-consciousness and strange metaphor make Hahn’s poetry far more inaccessible to me than the scientific terminology does. Take, for example, “The Diaspora of Sadness”; I suppose “field hand” is supposed to tie into “Costa Rica” and “diaspora,” but it is so vague… and how it relates to the butterfly is left unmentioned (granted, it could be drawing a connection between caterpillars-to-butterflies and the diaspora of field workers, but that is so cliché… is that really the extent of Hahn’s imagination?). It’s too contrived.

The “flower thoughts” – the poems? in front of a flower background on certain pages (an introduction to a new “section”?) – I thought was an interesting touch, if only because I get an illustration to take my mind off of how much I don’t care about “off-putting soap” or what a “Florida scientist” did. Couldn’t Hahn at least have given a name, so that I would feel somehow emotionally invested in the story? That is, I think, the crux of it: not only do I not care about the content, but I’m not shown why I should care. Aside from there being a lot of poems here, and that she talks about them as if she cares, I don’t see the *passion* that Hahn has for these things.

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