New Release, 2020
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In Labor Day — a long serial poem in fifty-six parts — Rebecca Kosick pursues a series of movements in and out of the natural and economic landscapes of the postindustrial Midwest at the turn of the twenty-first century, attempting to incarnate a language adequate to memory, a memory adequate to place. Kosick’s verse modulates from auratic to frank, stately to aching, its presiding recollective mood accumulating like a mist over a warming landscape: scattered homophones peer up through layers of sediment, once-familiar terrain is eroded by diluvial, counterintuitive etymologies. The rhetorical layering of Labor Day is memory’s residue, a "paused emptiness of season" that freezes an instant only to watch it dissolve under charged scrutiny. There is something here of the animistic sociability and glancing observation of Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals, offset by a strain of Hopkins’s providential empiricism, a tender attunement to inscape whose materiality can take a sudden Steinian swerve into resonant disaggregation. While formally hovering on this threshold between lyric excavation and sonic concreteness, the poems unfold in a georgic, postindustrial reality in which haleness retires each day only an arms-length from hardship. Held in counterpoise by disrupted cycles of care, riven efforts against forgetting, Labor Day becomes the genius loci it sets out to summon, constructing — not unambivalently — a sonic space to stand for those places that memory can’t reconstruct.
About the Author
Rebecca Kosick lives in Bristol, England, where she codirects the Bristol Poetry Institute and teaches in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol. She is the author of the monograph Material Poetics in Hemispheric America: Words and Objects, 1950–2010, and has published numerous articles, essays, and other fragments that address, translate, or are themselves poetry. She grew up in Michigan. Visit her website [here].