Bootleg Copy

By Davis, Robert Murray | World Literature Today, January/February 2012 | Go to article overview

Bootleg Copy


Davis, Robert Murray, World Literature Today


Laurynas Katkus. Bootleg Copy. Kerry Shawn Keys, tr. Chicago. Virtual Artists Collective. 2011. isbn 978- 0983009153

"Ode to Jellyfish," the most accessible poem in Laurynas Katkus's new collection, offers more clues to the Lithuanian poet's preoccupations than to his poetic method. It begins by listing what the creature doesn't have-complexity, connection to the struggles of the confusing upper world-and what it does, "an elemental perfection."

Other poems attempt to confront that complexity and the confusion that it occasions in humans. The city is presented in jagged, jarring images, as in "the bedding's cooled down scum on the milk / sirens late at night"; the speaker is "attached so much to what is cramped, what smells, / What weighs one down, and conceals. . . ." Time passes but does not progress, and "we are always at loose ends."

One section attempts, by assembling fragmentary memories, to recall the essence of people who have died, but these never quite make a whole. …

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