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..:: CONTENTS ::..
   Volume I, Issue II

..:: POETRY ::..

..:: PROSE ::..
..:: ART ::..
..:: REVIEWS ::..
..:: ETC ::..
   Contributor's Notes

..:: ARCHIVES ::..
   Volume I, Issue I
   Volume I, Issue II
   Volume II, Issue I
   Volume II, Issue II
   Volume III, Issue I
   Volume III, Issue II
   Volume IV, Issue I

Claudia Keelan, The Devotion Field 
(Alice James Books, 2004)
Chad Lietz


Undoing in becoming in this her fourth full-length collection, poet Claudia Keelan eclipses the strident formal innovation of 2000's Utopic (also Alice James Books) w/ a sensitivity to new music afforded her organic poethic that permits the advent of a return--a pentimento of said innovation fused w/ the lyrical connaissance of the poet's earlier work. No longer is the personal (the I, the you) a DMZ :: maps & signposts are simply a way to go :: "What's left us                     Attached / & adventing" :: The Devotion Field ranges wide…

           :: Wm. James' feeling of of

           :: resistance vs. illegitimate government / national identity (what was turned is,
                          malformed, bellicose, imperialistic)

           :: antinomian contention w/ received tradition, humans, husbands, & muses

           :: of a mind to in a mind to give :: is of

           :: love :: primacy of :: this :: plurality :: "Of & Among…"

A locus(t)--Keelan burrows into the sod of Amurrika's tirepackt history (liberation campaign of this polis, new bright city reinvigorated) & chisels free the stony particulars of monuments. From Devotion Field's first declaration of interdependence, "Day Book":

           Looked inside                 An American soul An Amer

           I can soul inside

           I found                            An art museum

                                 Where my millions died (1)

& in "the verb auction" that follows any epoch, any event in "these historic times" (per our present tengallon scoundrel scion), any invested citizen must participate--& so goes Keelan, in pursuit of, ranging through the field ("is what knowledge is"), in search of the "single sun [that] illumines" inside every body.

           Passage & pursuit :: poet's Georgics :: complaint & question, alternative, commence

From Continental Congress to Birmingham to Academe, any thing de//ie, con-, noun//fined comes under question, underhand, not grateful for the bullshit dead, "Kicking inside the Godhead / Kicking inside the work": commitment to passage. The work.

           Walk through the doors,

           An I in an of--

           Even if in seems imperfectly done,

           Do not give up imperfectly. (26)

A devotion to change & action, as bodies forth the world, in synthetic (ie, squamous, plural) gna/ledge, guides these peripatetics; a devotion to & of change :: "Phenomenon Nuptial" :: allegiance lost & reborn in the worlding now :: "The Sybil's Afterlife" :: "I met myself & left / With me & she came home forever changed." (37) Passage through a "hole in the beam," into that space where definition can be defied, revised & enacted in perpetuum.

           & yes, Mr. Ashberry, there is a quotidian of an among…here beautifully sung.

                       cf. "Heredity":

           I did not die into a new heart.

           Dying was the heart

           & you who took our son's cut hair

                                 & sprinkled it among the flowers--

           Of suns, flowers are made.

           I is there, his hair

           spiraling through a flower.

           Nothing new, just a purple flower. (50)

& the dynamo of challenge & change :: organic & active world of ideas ::

           The gaps         I mean / I      put them […] / Love broke the line / & s/he was free (57)

           Service, service of the world, / Vision of God-- / Not separate things, just different. (61)

In this new challenge to a priori form, even as relates to the poet's own methods (here, confident in her devotion, in commitment to breath & action), the questions Keelan poses--from her I (imperfectly) in an of-to "a country going down, / In the aftermath of its occasion" (54) find their only most suitable alternative in antiphony, plurality:

           Be a moth in your life
           Be a quick movement among flowers
           Bloom (65)


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