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Prostrating before the golden figure
Against disinclination…later in the day…
All that remains…the extremely brittle foliage…
Abated, the thunder…our golden figure…
Her ugly hair held back by a pin…frenzied
Rushed down the forested hill that isolates sun
Highly explosive, flickering, foiling of your heightening hushed
Nick in the blue thing
Along negligence
Of the maidens
Shackled as sharp complication
Being as it were
Absorbed into
Whiten, whitening
Or white on white display
That play
That combusted
On stage
& Remus
The Janus figure
From Zaire

Brenda Iijima, “Puzzle” from Animate, Inanimate Aims. Copyright © 2007 by Brenda Iijima. Reprinted by permission of Litmus Press.
Source: Animate Inanimate Aims (Litmus Press, 2007)
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  • Brenda Iijima grew up in North Adams, Massachusetts, and studied visual arts at Skidmore College. After teaching in China for a year, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, where she teaches and edits for Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, a publisher of poetry. Iijima’s collections of poetry include Around Sea (2004), Animate, Inanimate Aims (2007), Subsistence Equipment (2008), Revv. You’ll—ution (2009), and If Not Metamorphic (2010).

    In her work, Iijima addresses the subjects of science, gender, ecology, and history. Alan Davies, reviewing Around Sea, noted that in her poems, “meaning accrues by dint of repeated hint.” If Not Metamorphic is rich in the language and metaphorical implications of geology, and is often driven by sound associations. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the title poem, “composed entirely of questions, sifts and settles across its pages like sediment.”

    Iijima is the editor of eco language reader (2010), a collection...

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