cover image Superior Packets

Superior Packets

Susie Timmons. Wave (Consortium, dist.), $20 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-940696-06-5

Timmons, who has long been praised by her New York peers but whose published work has been difficult to track down, sees her previous books—1979’s Hog Wild (winner of the inaugural Ted Berrigan Award), 1990’s Locked from the Outside, and 2010’s The New Old Paint—collected in one volume. Her titles alone should give readers a sense of her poetics: low-key yet brainy, spunky yet depressive, post-second-wave New York School yet retaining that group’s hallmark East Village sensibility. Her variously long and short, fast and slow, half-conceptual poems bury their own subject matter in a flitting, funny, near-surreal field of vision where “If pillows were people they’d always be sleeping,” and she declares that “there’s no reward/ for love in this life/ but bright walls/ one after the other.” Timmons swerves confidently through registers where the mundane and the hyperbolic collide, her poems located somewhere among those of Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, and CAConrad, all poets whose sense of the political bears a likeness to her own: “War, the ultimate in neoclassical junk/ being subjected/ now go back and install beauty, restore virtue.” The poems demonstrate a consistency over time, though The New Old Paint bears marks of maturation, so even if Timmons complains that “One day is the same as another,” she remains unafraid to tell you “what’s banned/ my pussy, that’s what, ostrich feathers.” [em](Apr.) [/em]