poem index

book

Unsound

Publisher

Burning Deck

Year

2010

Type

Poetry Book
Unsound by Jennifer Martenson
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In her first full-length poetry collection, Martenson presents an investigative poetics that breathes fresh life into empirical forms and language that, in their traditional uses, can shroud the truth and reinforce a problematic status quo. One of the projects of Unsound is Xq281, a series of poems that critically examine past discussions of the existence of and conclusions surrounding the "gay gene." Because lesbian identity has been excised from or has not been present in many of these discussions, Martenson conveys marginalization by composing the pieces as a series of footnotes under blank pages. In the book's second series, Unsound, Martenson continues her exploration of precarious logic, addressing the slippery slope of language and the simultaneous strength and fragility of semantics. From "Parallel Motion":

so naming isolates, and touch evades us
line by line. You think
that you are nearing a conclusion
when you're only walking out along the curvature
in phrase.

This book review originally appeared in American Poets, fall 2010, issue 39.

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