Uncertain Relations

by Joel Chace. 2000 52 pages. $14.50. Birch Brook Press, PO Box 81, Delhi, NY 13753.

Book Review by

This work of these words by Joel Chace operates as the mind in moments, slight ones, as mind and imagination play across an entire life of words. Here is the past and the future and the present in relation to each other. These incidents, moments are captured in bits of images and words and sit on the page as in the mind in relation to each other and those bridges between such are there and not as they are in mind/imagination. And reading this, one is then into one’s own mind and builds, in the creative sense, the bridges also. Interactive! So the poem here is the life, the life of the mind represented. And yes, it is much punctuated with silences and there are references to John Cage here and there, which relates that even in the silence between the words of the poem the mind is talking and making music in those silences. And in the mind also where the poem manifests at its origins. Each moment in mind has its own reality as does then each constellation of words in Chase’s work. What are the relations? They are always uncertain but when making a work of art that so clearly mirrors creative reality that uncertainly is the art of reality so each segment then captures the rhythm of life and the periodic table of elements, so frequently mentioned in this poem, then is a form placed upon the poem from the real word in an attempt to order what is already there as real. And it words, works here and is a metaphor. Life, in the end, is the mind and mind’s operation is at best uncertain and fluctuating. And Joel Chase has captured that uneasy yet undeniable truth.