Lilac bushes border the lotsI love the moment in the poemit reminds me of the present-tense pastoral interruptions to Pound's litany of memory in the Pisan Cantoswhen the roughly three- to four-beat lines are broken up by white space signifying the sea and words describing that sea. It's a gesture toward the sublime that stays thisworldly, which seems eminently consistent with Bouchard's ethos. There's also humor in the book, a good deal of intertextuality with predecessors and contemporaries (you have to love the first line of the poem "Pax": "I make a pact with you, Ron Silliman"), and a lived degree of political engagement that feels of a piece with the deceptively conversational form.
of neatly trimmed lawns. Green water
at low tide, the flats at Brewster.
American goldfinch trio flies
at truck noise. Route 6, also
"Grand Army of the Republic Highway"
is quiet and empty at sunrise. A bicylcist
heaed north, preceded by a small car
acting as windbreak in narrow lane
right of the white line.
the vulnerable broom crowberry.
Ed was killed in a car wreck,
thrown from the passenger seat.
Bouchard seems like he would be a natural for my final chapter on contemporary pastoralists; I've just ordered his new book, Some Mountains Removed, and I'm excited to read that as well.