Sunday, September 03, 2006

Diverse Speculations Descending Therefrom

Diverse Speculations Descending Therefrom
*a dusi/e-chap by K Lorraine Graham
review by Jon Leon

K. Lorraine Graham uses a simple narrative structure in her book. Beach excursions, afternoon tea with a sunburned British boy, and women yelling at dogs are described in a casual fashion. Everyday language is employed to direct effect. She is not afraid to use pronouns like I and he and she nor does she ignore the necessity of clarity. These vignettes make adventure and personality appealing and sustain a refreshing respite from over-intellectualized abstractions. It is the poetry of a living human being in the world. Reinforced verbs like “yelling” below mimic the basic speech of passionate people.

The woman yelling at her dog yelled: “you fucking
crazy drunk dog, you’re lucky you have me as
your mama!”

Graham is a very cool poet. Her book is like the best of Mexican pop songs. Now that poetry has turned into a competition between brains matter-of-fact sentences like these are incredibly appealing. They reveal a thinking person who applies her mind to social situations and life in a world rather than hieroglyphic abstractions that nobody understands.

You drank your coffee and stared at the sidewalk.
You thought about how your friend is always in
violent situations, but never seems aware of it.

Reading this book I am reminded about how brains and intuition still help us navigate life, and that contrary to what a lot of poetry teaches, that is just as important as navigating through books and ideas. When we want to ride a motorcycle and kiss a fisherman Deleuze or Guattari or Walter Benjamin or Foucault will not be of much help. Even bureaucrats love it.

Later that day I went swimming with several
Bhutanese economists. “We are old Bhutanese
bureaucrats,” one told me, “but we like to have

This is the best thing since Guest’s Confetti Trees. Viva la K. Lorraine Graham!