NewPages Review

newpagesSpeaking of reviews, I was informed of, and then completely forgot to mention, this really nice review of American Fractal by Jeanne M. Lesinski on  Most fun for me is the paragraph where she talks about “The Bending of Birches,” which is really the first time I’ve seen anyone dig into the minutia of one of my poems, the way one might in an English class:

The poem mingles aural and visual music: The caesurae [unable to be reproduced here] audibly create rhythm, while visually recalling the fragments of the fractal that are repeatedly broken down into tinier fragments. Later, the viewer encounters a story within a story, which is another fractal aspect, as well as circular imagery (halos, reverberations, bends of backs and notes, spotlights, clusters), light (spotlights, halos, dust motes in track lighting), upward movement (buoyancy like wood, plucked up, bounce of the horsehair bow, lifting of leaves, swirling, fluttering). Throughout, Green has entwined the images that play so well off each other in various associations into beautiful, lingering poignancy.

I used to wonder, when encountering descriptions like these in textbooks, whether or not the poet or novelist had any idea that they were including these elements in their work, if it was added subconsciously, or if the essayist may have even been projecting things that don’t exist.  I always speculated that it was probably a combination of three — the faintest of hints of intention reverberating in the echo-chamber of other  minds.  Now that I’m on the other side of things, I can confirm that’s mostly true.


  1. I think even if your conscious mind isn’t aware of those embedded images and symbols, your subconscious is.

  2. Hi Tim,

    Qualify your antecendent for “that”! Did you really not mean to blend those elements so well?

    Actually, sometimes in writing my own poetry, I only realize what I’ve done after the fact, as in my contribution to Poem, Revised (Marion Street Press)when I wrote the essay that analyzed my poem “Through the Plots.”

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