Slack Action

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The Porcupine's Quill, Sep 15, 2013 - Poetry - 96 pages
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'Slack action' describes the movement of boxcars in the midst of a train that brakes and then accelerates, where 'reciprocal momentums ... meet and intermingle, the forward push / backing into slows, and the slows pulling off / pulling forward ahead of their kickbacks and jostles ...' – where certain 'single cars hidden / in the midst, scudding alone, neither pushed / nor pulled, left gentled into hiatus,' coast free. This is the space of Jeffery Donaldson's fifth collection: poems of middle life, of Dante's forest of half-way, their speakers gliding with pent momentum between children who are on their way in and parents who are on their way out. Yet these are also poems that suggest all life is middle life: we live in a present moment that coasts between a beginning we can't remember and an end we can't predict. Few things are more difficult to represent in lyric poems, with their calculated incipits and finales; Donaldson has evolved a poetics of the middle, in which single words and images, whole poems, even, coast free 'an instant in the long line's accordion folds' / uneasy breathing.'

 

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Contents

Slack Action 11 Lift
11
Slack Action
13
Assisted Care
16
Inspirit
19
Hand
22
The Contents
24
Eocene Plant Fossil 27 With a Line from a Dream
27
Four Haiku
30
A Touretters TwelveTone Sonnet
38
Toy Poems
41
JackintheBox
43
Spinning Top 44 Yoyo
44
Rocking Horse
46
Figurine
48
Marbles
50
Kite
52

Troy
31
The Stadium 32 More than Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Listener
32
The Selected Poems
37
Ball
53
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Jeffery Donaldson is an associate professor of English at McMaster University.

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