Chapbook, Susanne Dyckman, above/ground press, abovegroundpress.blogspot.ca, $4
This review will contain nearly as many words as the dozen poems in Source combined. Empty space plays as important a role here as the text does. These verses are meant to be read with a specific tempo (a slow one) — their words are spread vertically, horizontally and across pages.
While the poems in this collection are titled simply — “:family,” “:sister” and “:city” are examples — this is far from straightforward material. The text of each poem is meant to equate to what’s listed in the title, as the colons in the titles suggest; however, some contemplation is required to determine how lines like “borrowing or digging / where water will not flow easy,” might relate to the concept of “:city.” There are also shorter, untitled missives interspersed between Source’s primary poems, which seem to be a mixture of prayers, confessions and proverbs, and are considerably more enigmatic: “I confess to seraphs / the word I strike / is bread / is servant / is forever.”
Thematically, Susanne Dyckman appears to be analyzing the divide between disconnectedness and belonging, with the prayerful intermissions reading like a search for relief. In the final poem, “:home,” the opposing notions make a final collision in a series of lines that gets to the root of Dyckman’s struggle: “Something near, cherished, / but how to cherish // that which is also the same as end.” It’s a bittersweet conclusion to a cycle that hints at a lot by saying little. (Scott Bryson)