In her third
collection, Carol Moldaw explores new territory in poems
that are thematically far-reaching and technically superb.
The book includes three long sequences based on art and
artifact in various stages of completeness: preliminary
pen-and-ink studies, Turkish ruins, and, at the center,
the site-specific art installation that gives the book
its title and impetus. Attracting charged material as a
lightning field attracts lightning, the poems reference
narrative but move beneath and beyond it through a restless
and rewarding insistence on making and remaking, on seeing
by degrees and seeing whole.
"In Carol Moldaw's precise, objective poems, a
Parnassian art is reborn. These poems keep a remarkable
balance between inner and outer worlds, between dream-life
and stern logic. They are works of art."
For further information about the author, see her website.
LIGHTNING FIELD, part 1
Four hundred equidistant stainless steel poles,
twenty-five by sixteen, gird and grid the mile-long
kilometer-wide field that was once a plain.
Like polished spears, with solid tapered tips,
they rise over twenty feet. Sounding the air,
attuned to the light's least vibrato,
between dawn and dusk they all but disappear.
It was the hope of lightning drew us here,
and for an hour or so there is lightning--
violet strikes, frequent, sharp, and silent
above the mountains ringing the plain
but the poles do not require lightning, they
are aggregate enough. Would we have walked
so casually into the scrub and desert plain
without the reassurance of these metes
and bounds? Past the first gulch, before we reach
the corner pole, the cabin drops below
our line of sight. Quickly, characterize
and distinguish the mountains to the west from
to the east. The north. The south. But we could
on the sun, you say before I've had a chance
to get my bearings, your profile still so new,
studying not the mountains, but the cloud-
lit sky. Leaving the perimeter, we work
our way in, zigzagging from pole to pole.
Copyright c 2003 by Carol Moldaw. May not be reproduced