Ins & Outs
Chapbook, Nicole Markotić, abovegroundpress.blogspot.ca, 10 pgs, $4
Flip the page (literally); search for an alternate point of entry; without a handle, a door is just a wall: frustrated and feeling somewhat inadequate, I stumbled through Ins & Outs without a clue. I must be missing something. Or maybe it’s good at hiding. Regardless, you really have to investigate (or “stigate”) to coax meaning out of Markotić’s vertical poetics.
But frustration and feelings of incompletion run rampant throughout this zine. And, true to the nature of such things, there’s no self-affirming claim to meaning. Murmured clauses pool at the centre, arranged somewhat arbitrarily like the pull of gravity itself: “Who at this quisition deems non-stop sults as sufferable? / yes please”; “sung to the meld of orable banking / uh-huh, the candleabra’s plicable blue tremis / wait, don’t wander (save for haustible times)”. Too many speakers, or too many thoughts left unspoken, unclarified and subsequently meandering without ownership. The poems are arranged with respect to the reader’s experience during intake: negative space and stark alignment frustrates the potentiality of the pure white page, much like poetry’s insatiable promise of truth. Clarity offers little perspective. Confidence is often thwarted.
I’m a glutton for punishment and nit-picking, so Ins & Outs is an absolute treat. And I anticipate that this review holds all the same frustrations as the mumbling text itself. Another satisfying and characteristically complex read from above/ground press. (Jeff Low)