Thursday, December 13, 2012



fault tree by kathryn l. pringle
(Omnidawn Publishing,Richmond, CA 2012)

fault tree! Please plant another      

Every once in a while, oh and I do wish it were more often, you come across a book of poetry and read it through and through and you say, “That’s it? But I want more!” And then you realize that despite the number of pages you’ve burned through there is so much more. There’s an unfolding deep into the gut and head of impression and reflection that reveals itself slowly and then quickly and then slowly again. kathryn l. pringle’s fault tree is one of these books.

There’s a looking in on itself, a speaker describing and dissecting an image of an alter-self -- a reflective analysis that dizzies with role and purpose, a certainty of the uncertainty that one even exists    

                        “of course, one could make the argument that you were never there
                        which is problematic
                        for me being situated more or less
                        outside of you who
                        may or may not be
                        there or anywhere

                        if you exist in the future
                        then I am chasing you
                        or just behind” (19)

The almost maze like perspective in pringle’s poems harkens back to Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion for me. A story that unfolds and weaves from different persons only to be taken back to a point of one person—the young Frenchman sent to fight in the Napoleonic wars, the cross-dressing Venetian woman, 4 stories that begin as 2 different voices. pringle, in 3 sections, embraces a soldier, a patient, lovers re-feeling out their footing in the relationship:

                        “in sleeping we turn off towards
                        walls – single – after coupling
                        I place my hand on yr hip flexor
                        you sigh and back up into me
                        this is what i like.

                        when we are old
                        we will be crazy
                        and they will try and take us
                        there will be two crazies of us
                        but take us they will”   (64)

The questions surrounding the regard of self raise their head. There are no concrete answers as the guise shifts from one speaking who  “yesterday . . . was alive” (24) to the one who later states, “i i i / don’t want to go to camp / there is no me there” (61)

The reflection of a self is tied up in the relation of time. Time shifts and jumps and the speaker, all the while holding a mirror for the sake of identity, changes faces and becomes political, scientific, a lover. The speaker’s afraid of the system, part of the system and the creator of the system at the same time.  pringle delicately and confoundedly weaves the emotive friction of various life circumstances, as if many tales were gathered from generations upon generations while at the same time it could be you, the reader. I surely felt there were moments that I even was speaking. And thought how does she know this about me?

 fault tree is a beautiful, sometimes hauntingly mysterious, crisscrossing journey of what may or may not be waking moments. “the moment is like falling asleep. sometimes i think i am asleep. but for the sleep’s duration . . .” (11) It will take you in and hold you, even mistrustfully, but it won’t let go. “therefore you are not leaving this island.” (13)

Sunnylyn Thibodeaux is from New Orleans and lives in San Francisco. She is the author of Palm to Pine (Bootstrap 2011) and many small books. With her husband, Micah Ballard, she co-edits Auguste Press and Lew Gallery Editions and has a daughter, Lorca Manale Ballard.

1 comment:

  1. Another view is offered by Judith Goldman elsewhere in GR #19 at