An uneven but worthy effort

An uneven but worthy effort

domina Un/blueddomina Un/blued by Ruth Ellen Kocher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the anti-aesthetic shatter of the post-post-post, any art that is at all representational, any language that is at all eloquent, any verse that is at all unified is at best suspect, and at worst disrespected.

In the best poems in this collection, Kocher makes good use of the shatter to unveil the slave/dominant relationship, whether individual or societal. Perhaps despite herself, some lines approach a kind of eloquence.

Then there are “Un/blued” which repeats E/empire empire Empire over and over in three columns. I get it. I get it. I get it.

The extravagant use of white space mostly works to convey the shatter as well. Such use can be mere laziness, but that does not seem so here. The theme of domination/slavery also mostly works, approaching a versified “Fifty Shades” but not falling into it. Sometimes the fragmentation of dialogue conveys the shatter. Other times it seems pseudo-Wasteland.

All in all, I would argue that readers of poetry should spend one trip though this collection. It is very much worth one reading. Some poems merit rereading, such as:

“Near Torre Argentina”
“Exercise 17”
“D/domina: Daughter”
“D/domina: Forgetting the Tree”

and especially “D/domina: Issues Involving Interpretation”

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