Author: Vincent Katz
Publisher: Lunar Chandelier Press (2016)
Following up on the generous depth of Swimming Home (Nightboat Books, 2015) with this set of lyrically composed meditations, Katz cools, condenses and abstracts the tempo to a strolling pace. "Long histories" with "voices in rain" at a "calmed . . . simplicity" (and stripped of much punctuation) are transfigured by mind. Transport is offered with "a way of breathing" as a conduit by which to "confront solidity" in plein air amidst the "latent flux." Katz's lyric traverses a relatively southern line of latitude, its engimas a "hindrance" . . . "on / periphery late / in path" that while not fixed to a single location are immediately felt as true. The fresh concise forms of Southness offer perception and response that contend with a "trembling, human avidity" . . . "under modernity's / glare."
Accompanied with a vivid detail on the cover from a painting by poet and painter Etel Adnan, Southness has been noted by John Godfrey to "exercise coolness while implicitly maintaining that nothing in the medium is not personal. Denser poems present mental spaces word-to-word that thread striking affinities. The words resonate, in their abbreviation, with feeling and honesty . . . The poet in and out of the shadows." And Peter Gizzi comments, "observation, personal declaration, and joy . . . are abundant throughout this wonderful book. Southness is a sensory and sonic adventure."