Chapbook, Megan Kaminski, above/ground press, abovegroundpress.blogspot.com, $4
There’s a preparatory tone in the first page of this long poem that lends itself well to the images of wintering conjured by its title (wintering: to lodge, keep, or care for during the winter). “This poem will be a long one,” warns Megan Kaminski, “will widen will drift like snow.”
That drifting is accomplished in a literal sense through an absence of punctuation and capitalization, and symbolically via Kaminski’s subject matter. Movement permeates nearly every line in Wintering Prairie: “Long shadows and sun melt spread / across lawns across asphalt / neighborhood strip mall and shop.” If it weren’t for the occasional interjection that reads like a prayer — “I carry absence / I carry want / I carry body ache / on this bright day” — Wintering Prairie might be the print version of an episode of The Nature of Things; it glides across the landscape and zooms in on a particular scene for a few moments, before flying away again.
A few cringe-worthy misspellings of “arctic” (as “artic”) aside, Wintering Prairie is a slick and evocative read. It delivers on its promise to drift, but Kaminski’s reluctance to focus for very long on any singular sketch occasionally leads to large chunks of text blowing by with little absorption. It covers a lot of ground in a short time. (Scott Bryson)