Poetry News

NewPages Reads Danielle Dutton's SPRAWL

By Harriet Staff
Daniel Dutton, SPRAWL, cover.

Cody Lee reviews Wave Books's 2018 reissue of Danielle Dutton's collection, SPRAWL (originally published by Siglio in 2010). Lee suggests reading SPRAWL as one long poem, explaining, "subconsciously, I have been searching everywhere for the present-day Georges Perec. I’m not entirely sure how that sounds, but I promise that I mean nothing but praise for Dutton and her characterization of the modern housewife." From there: 

I compare her to Perec, primarily, due to the (unnamed) narrator’s eye: “On the table is half a grapefruit, a small pile of coffee grounds, an almost empty glass of milk, a fork, a spoon, a plate, a blackening banana peel.” And underneath the surface, even in the supposed messiness of her listed-off observations, there is something extremely mathematical. The narrator knows exactly where and how something should be (e.g. “In the morning, I notice a smear on one of the window-panes”). And yes, the previous example was more of a comparison of Perec and the unnamed narrator, but Dutton herself works in a similar, playful manner when she details an entire day in the matter of three sentences: “In the morning, over coffee and eggs, I’m exhorted to be an individual. In the afternoon we wash our cars. At night I’m restricted to a relatively confined social circle.” God, that makes me sad, that a day could be summed up so quickly, but my happiness in Dutton’s success to pull it off rises to the top.

Read on at NewPages.

Originally Published: February 11th, 2019