by Karen MacCormack. West House Books, 40 Crescent Road, Nether Edge, Sheffield, S7 1HN
Book Review by Michael Basinski
The word implement is close to the word implexures (if you were alphabetizing all the words ever). One is or I am an implement of time and implicated by it (time). So when one reads this poetry there is an activation of imagination that expands the actual words and their saying to engage the imagination of the reader and the reader (me) falls into and through this portal into all time and memory. A complete soak as into a swimming pool! As beings we spend a good bit of time in memory, conscious or not (of it), and I can’t find in my memory any poetry, other than this poetry, that so opened this particular door for me ’ flung open. The avatar of memory hovers about Karen MacCormack, haunting and performing and informing her poetry. All of her memory is the material for her poetry - oh Jack Kerouac, memory babe, would be so jealous! Wide open ended poem of parts, part history of memory and a family and life memories perhaps there and untapped or barely visible and one wondering poet about the impetus to react a certain way in time, so MacCormack moves about this thickness of memory with some ease and which is a measure of her tremendous artistic assets. ‘Places move on,’ she writes in one of the works and that sticks in my mind as I drive these streets in this my hometown (Buffalo) which mind as well be India or China because I am no longer on them as I once was and I am left with memory. How do we remember with words and slow that memory down so that the memory might be clothed in words? Karen MacCormack, for this humble being, presents a form, poetry.