A Conjoined Book
Continuing the lyric investigations of her first two books, Karla Kelsey’s A Conjoined Book hinges together two new volumes—Aftermath and Become Tree, Become Bird—to create a meditation on the construction of meaning. Unfolding after an unnamed ecological and emotional fracture, Aftermath’s phrases and imagery layer a landscape of rift dividing the self from the self. The second book, Become Tree, Become Bird grafts the Brothers Grimm’s The Juniper Tree onto the body of Aftermath, naming fracture’s loss and reworking what has splintered into a variation of the fairy tale.
"This visionary relationship to landscape has forebears—recently, Andrew Zawacki’s Videotape; before that, Lorine Niedecker and Keats’s “To Autumn” and Hopkins’ notebooks—though one might also hear Dickinson in the lilt and hitch of phrasing ('Time points to the hour of the curtain, the glass swan still warm / from the / child’s hand / the room / become a minor legacy as this telling frosts over double-paned glass: / the road'). This intent looking shudders between seeing and thinking, emphasizing 'questions of interval' in the book’s quicksilver perceptions and its bifurcated structure." —Zach Savich, author of Full Catastrophe Living