by Joyelle McSweeney on Feb.25, 2013
Every once in a while (ok, fairly often) I discover a work of (usually translated) poetry and it’s as if existence has propagated a lawless fold in itself that allows itself to continuously redouble its awesomeness in a blithe bacterial repopulation of the world-gut with awesomeness.
That’s the experience I have (and the experience YOU will have, dear reader) while reading The Warmth of the Taxidermied Animal by Tytti Heikkinen, trans. Niina Pollari (to debut from Action Books at AWP bookfair !). This book is brainy, rambunctious, gross and sad. The poems knit together the language of ‘where we are now’ until it reads like where we’ve never been and where we are always jailed up to be but maybe in a horni lady jail on planet future. At one moment this book is all limpid/lyric and slightly encrusted with dried goo–
I’ve found a stripper pen.
When you tilt it, the swimsuit slides away from the woman and reveals the body.
The picture is endless but placid, presents an argument
with a blackbird voice:
Best to know as little as possible at a time, so the transparent tube’s mystery remains intact.
–And the next moment the book is crooning in the voice of chat-room sybil Fatty XL, as in this poem, “Fatty-XL: Winter is Long:
Ihave great hair. Winter is long. today it didn’t snow or
sleet. I slept a lot and went outside
Yesterday had an evening with Eikka in the evening. He was like,
it’s pretty great how we’re constantly moving
into a direction without prejudice. It was really fun
but after twelve bottles (or cans…) don’t remember
the particulars. Before he left back
to basic) eikka wrote a note and asked me to show
it just to be sure at the pharmacy.
Brother’s hamster didn’t learn any new tricks.
Even mom says it knows one trick since it
hasn’t been castrated? I was confused?
Everything in this poem is totally ‘sic’, but the way. In this rambunctious scrum of surpluses and deficiencies and non-plusses and inefficiencies I feel the confusion? and infusion? and superfusion? of life-as-lived in a totally impurified language of the non-tribe splitting apart from itself and making new sad sexy clumps as with bed-head. Suck it, Eliot!
I love Fatty-XL, and the rest of Heikkenin’s work, and I think Niina Pollari is a goddess for bringing this into English for us, and Andrew Shuta (of Spork Press) made a great design with instructive diagrams, and everyone should read this book and buy it at the ACTION BOOKS TABLE at AWP.