Magazine article World Literature Today

Night Flight

Magazine article World Literature Today

Night Flight

Article excerpt

Kerry Shawn Keys. Night Flight. Rockford, Michigan. Presa. 2012. isbn 9780983125136

A good many of Kerry Shawn Keys's poems can be characterized, if not explained, by the lines "Everything's open to derangement" and "There aren't any rules for the subjects in this medium." One of the simplest examples is "The dogwood at the edge / of the park is barking out flowers," but other poems, like "The Ache," which opens Night Flight, have more consistently startling imagery.

Many of the other poems celebrate, sometimes with considerable reservations, the power of the female principle and, especially in the first of the book's two parts, the natural world, rural but hardly pastoral and sometimes sounding like that of Robert Frost-the American woodlands, in particular the birds who inhabit it. In the second half, the world is predominantly urban Vilnius, Lithuania, where Keys has lived for some years. These poems tend to have less wrenched or striking imagery, but they are at least as somber or guarded in their celebration.

Readers who take comfort in paraphrasable sense may prefer part 2, but those more drawn to experiment will find the daring, imaginative flights more appealing. …

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