cover image Time Down to Mind

Time Down to Mind

Graham Foust. Flood Editions (SPD, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-0-9903407-5-1

Poet and translator Foust (To Anacreon in Heaven and Other Poems) steeps his impressive new collection in a fascinating and dark mixture of ambivalence and longing as he explores the ways in which meaning is mutable, experience colors perception, and memories collide with the day-to-day. These spare poems are deeply affecting: “Want of the world’s a little/ like a movie in 3-D—// I paw at what’s unreal;/ it seems to be there.” The poems are decidedly self-conscious and concerned with the processes and associations of the active mind. “I tend to speak in sentences, not with them,” the speaker intones, “but it’s not my fault that they feel like places.” The speaker often displays aphoristic tendencies, acutely aware of the limitations of language in general and the way that poetry itself can employ these limits. In “Slow Survivor,” for example, this emerges as “Poetry’s about the way the world won’t look,” which builds toward the observations that “Creation’s as savvy as it needs to be.// Beauty can’t be bothered with entirety.” Central to the collection’s invention and success is that it is inquisitive and a touch self-deprecating, posing more questions than answering them. “Dumb questions might be better than their answers,” Foust points out, “which is reason enough for staying alive.” (Dec.)