25 Jan 2012

The Descent of Alette

The Descent of Alette, Alice Notley

I don't usually like poems, but this reads like a story. I like it.

There is also a neat style worth mentioning. Notley uses quotation marks to separate poetic feet, meaning that every few words you get an enclosure in quotation marks, and there are no words free of these marks. So you get a barrage of quotation marks. And indeed, each break between quote-wrapped feet does make you pause, creating a rhythm that the author says is "intended."

Good for her. I'd add that there's an effect of quotation marks that she doesn't mention... that of creating a sense of irony. It's what attracted me first to the book, and what kept me reading.