Rough Bush and other poems
Ferguson's long-awaited follow-up to her debut volume, Relative Minor, adds to the image of this writer's integrity with its strong sonic qualities and extravagant, but never indulgent, verse architectures in the service of serious intellectual concerns. By turns as machine-gun witted and caustic as one of her dedicatees, Lenny Bruce, then as vulnerable and fluid as the writings of O'Hara or Hejinian, Ferguson also manages the turn from the personal to the civic that is a hallmark of Kootenay School writing (think Jeff Derksen and Lisa Robertson): "your brown lashes flutter revealing two / perfect orbs, a perfect morning, coloured / by the State." Each of the poems of Rough Bush, even the still-point of "t & tenth & alma," are performances, sometimes metrically baroque and syncopated, sometimes, as in "Turf Builder," extending from a basal formal unit, managing wide variations without straying from a one-or-two word line. Ferguson runs the poem through enough attitude to make even the punctuation marks mercenaries in a march on capital.