Showing posts from November, 2018


One thing about Tess Liem's debut collection Obits. is recurrence. Names, acts, journeys keep coming around, in newly familiar contexts. Connected with this is a lot of moving around underground: transport in the form of escalators, trains, inner pressure. Liem captures the commute as daily process and as language, frequently changing one thing for another: "I am allowed distance        I am a loud distance" ("Obit. [A distance    & I am allowed]"). The poems I enjoy most in this book play with variations on the aptly named "Obit." or " Obit. " In these, Liem's intensely personal and yet -- or therefore -- weirdly recognizable narrator is riding an escalator or stepping onto a train or jostling or waiting beside the many others of the moving world. Here's one: Obit. An exit, though I notice many of the fire escapes in Montreal duplexes are stairs within storage spaces leading to lower stora