REVIEW BY JONAS KYLE
Spoonbill & Sugartown (Brooklyn, NY)
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ, Jeremy Sigler’s new book of poems, offers the first 25 of 68 poems in 2 variants: total alphabetic format and a more familiar written transcription. In the first variant, aligned alphabets stack on alphabets in blocks. Each alphabet has one letter missing and the combined absences per block form words. Because the poems are short you can view the entire poem on one page or on a spread of two. With this variant you first see the poem without immediately reading it. The cognitive lag between instantaneous visual grasp and stringing the missing spaces to form the words of the poem allows you to bypass preconceived ideas and focus on what is really there. An analogy is drawing, not the cup in front of you, but the negative space around the cup, an approach that leads to a truer form of seeing.
Sigler’s book suggests we read too quickly and along entrenched grooves that preclude fresh perceptions. But with patience it is possible to let down your guard, open up and become receptive. I have recited all 68 poems many times to myself, sometimes silently, sometimes aloud, modulating my intonation to get, not different meanings, but different feelings and a growing astonishment at the elusive artistry with which they are composed. They come forward as utterances bearing a whiff of transgression, perfume traces of the Delphic cave. But these poems are not old, they came ex utero yesterday! Here it can be said of Poetry that what began as a descendant of the ideal male Olympian form reveals itself to be a femme fatale in disguise.
$22 PB 80 pages Pub date: Fall 2014