11 March 2013

Isle of Wight / Israel

Matthew Klane is a man of many hats: in conjunction with Adam Golaski, he edits Flim Forum Press; and, along with James Belflower, he runs the Yes! Reading Series in Albany, NY.

Klane, though, is more than an editor and promoter of poetry. He is also an accomplished poet who excels at writing minimalist, sound-driven verse. He authored the full-length collections B____ Meditations {1-52} (2008) and Che (2013), both of which Lori Anderson Moseman published on her Stockport Flats imprint.

In addition to his “official” book releases, Klane has self-published several chapbooks, one of which is Isle of Wight / Israel (Self-published, 2011). Originally intended as a gift for his friends when he left Iowa City to move back east to Albany in 2011, Klane produced the chapbook in a limited-run of 100 copies.

The poetry of Isle of Wight / Israel, like most of Klane’s work, is a minimalist writing highly attuned to the sonic aspects of verse and, among other thematic concerns, focuses on the nature of language and poetry. Take, for instance, the poem “The Sonnet”:

I set a pretty peal
of chimes

        T dillo dee

I’m witty and full
of Rhyme
I’m quick I’m sly I’m wry
I’ll write
my bonny-tippled
riffs ripples
sequences different
minnow skittling
of Thyme
surprise! surprise!
a dish of filberts
a mince pie
if I strive to fill it more
the Isle of Wight
will burst
“full / of Rhyme,” the poem “The Sonnet,” as with the entirety of the Isle of Wight, does “burst” with Klane’s musical “riffs” and “ripples” in “quick” minimalist verse. Indeed, as the poet writes in the “Indices into the Midst,” he composes the poem’s in this chapbook from:
Sound stringing
splendid meridian
of mingled
Yes, the poems in Isle of Wight exude a “Sound” predicated upon a certain “finesse” of language that most definitely is a product of a well-tuned ear.

Of course, Klane, it would appear, has a knack for sound because he, in some respects, leaves himself open to the vibrations of the world around him: he is a receptor of sound, transmitting their energies to an audience through poetry. Or, as he writes in “Higher Power”:
I lie in bed
my eyes open
ears open
hear me
The “Higher Power” of the poem’s title, one could argue, is poetry itself and the force of sound that enters into and emanates through/from the body (i.e. the eyes, ears, and mouth) while reading and writing it.

But this collection of poems and their corresponding sounds are not merely art for art’s sake, or sound for sound’s sake, etc. More than anything, Isle of Wight, a self-published chapbook gifted to friends, connects people to one another. No more clearly does Klane highlight the communal intention of this collection (and poetry in general) than in the concluding poem, “Absent-Mind”:
we wind our way
through this
on a quest
of words absurd
and fertile

that we should meet?
Although the poem ends with the interrogative statement, “strange / that we should meet?” we are already well aware of the answer: no, not so strange at all. In our lives and in this world, poets and writers connect through their “words absurd” as “we wind our way / through this / abyss” in the shared “quest” for poetry.

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