Poetry News

A Review of Erin Mouré's Planetary Noise: Selected Poetry

By Harriet Staff
Erin Moure

Barbara Berman moves us from the get-go with her introduction to a review of Planetary Noise: Selected Poetry of Erin Mouré (Wesleyan University Press, 2017): "When a writer has exceptionally acute feelings entwined with, and always engaging with, the infinite varieties of the way language affects heart and mind, the effects are devastating and profoundly necessary. These effects are everywhere in the poetry and translation of Erin Mouré." The Rumpus has it all; here's a brief excerpt:

[The] existential dilemma is always present in Mouré’s work and she is always, as she puts it, in a state of living “reasons difficulty.” She is one who “acts differently” in the same piece so that, in another “document” we are reminded that we are in the presence of someone called “[t]o touch ceaselessly on the confines of the world.” Touching accomplishes countless events, many of which, like the movement of eyes as a reader is observed, are hiding in plain sight, suggesting that engagement with words is a kind of photosynthesis of the soul.

Mouré is a rigorous mystic, and her rigor keeps us expansively awake. “Splay with a Stone” is playful and deep:

Create voice with bone
tip voice with steel,
die voice with a journey,
clot voice with a word
and you unconditionally.
Plough with a stone from the pyramids plough with a stone
and don’t splay the earth
and don’t splay
it, gather singular
singular
without make believe,
without making time.

The physicality here is yet another look at hard parts that are sometimes permeable. Many poems Mouré has composed over the years have been honestly inscrutable, not gratuitously so, because her vocation insists on facing the force of the tool, which is that “[w]riting is a language of insurrection.” It is shaped speech that can move mountains.

Please find the entire review at The Rumpus.

Originally Published: January 15th, 2018