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Relative Minor
Deanna Ferguson

83 Pages

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, syntactic and 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 these poems, even the still-point of "t & tenth & alma," are performances, sometimes metrically baroque and syncopated, sometimes, as in "Turf Builder," extending from a simple basal sonic unit, managing wide variations without straying from a central one-or-two word line. One of the central poets discussed in Sianne Ngai's essay "Poetics of Disgust," Ferguson runs the poem through enough attitude to make even the punctuation marks mercenaries in the march on capital.