I just finished reading Eric Baus‘ Tuned Droves (Black Ocean, 2009).
Here are some words I wrote down while reading:
snow, orange, echo, letter, sound, paper, owls, bees, vultures.
I liked Baus’ prose sections, which in tone sometimes seem to mimic an entry in an encyclopedia of natural history.
Anyway, I’m writing this review as a series of questions I ask and then answer.
1. What’s its deelio?
Speaking is something the body does.
“When a boy’s mouth collapses into itself, tiny flames release from his limbs. Although this is a small flash, he is startled by the sudden sun.”
A thought is a physical act, yes, but also, a physical event is a thought:
“Rain is when you get wet is what he think.”
That is to say, things that happen are things that happen to your body. We find a meld of flesh and paper and a host of strange animals. The vitalization of literature:
The Convex Vulture Unearth Ventricles
The formation of paper occasionally exposes the encyclopedia pigeon to the statue fish. This introduction creates a failed (sterile) collage. Failed collages exhaust themselves in air, water, and air. They cannot communicate with one another because of a dense layer of salt. In order to remain above the surface they must be renamed.
Letters are things that literally speak. To speak is to see is to disclose:
My sight is dim, said the woman. Another must be singing.
I am sorry, the letter said, it is too soon for me to tell about the paper train.
I mean it is too soon for me to see you.
Well I liked reading it. I like his animals like the statue fish and the convex vulture. I like the structure of all these small fragments of narratives that plink pebble-like on to the page and then ripple outward, and then fade. That’s one of the sentences you find in poetry reviews where, like, the reviewer is more into writing their own poetry than writing about someone else’s. What I mean is, he picks up stories but they don’t solidify, but they don’t go away either. There’s a woman, a man, a boy, the color orange, a piece of snow. They echo throughout the book, though there’s no story to tell.
A boy gets a bird from cutting paper. Birds become themselves when he sees them.
Dear paper birds, I can always see you. A woman, a man, and paper birds.
What are you doing, paper bird?
Removing myself from the sky
Isn’t it cool to think lines of text can talk to one another?
What question would we ask the book?
What’s the best shade of orange?