A Poem for Record Keepers
By Ali Power
Ali Power’s A Poem For Record Keepers is a long poem made of short poems that comes on like a deadpan phalanx system unlearning itself while crashing resignation into the boards and pulling the rug out from under certainty line by line. But certainty is not simply replaced by uncertainty; an angular, witty openness accumulates across Power’s poem, making it excellent company. That openness also lends itself to the poem’s capacity to build the kind of necessarily enigmatic space love requires to fend off the grinding mob-vacuum that is contemporary American life these days.
You could compare the way A Poem for Record Keepers works to the ways other things work—locked-groove records, Lorine Niedecker’s calendar poems, waves—but never for too long. As much as Ali Power’s poetry delights in forward motion and real speaking, it also teaches you how to remain still and listen. This is an ingenious, biting, elegant book. To enter it is to feel squeezed by time and even (if you want to, as I did) by hope: “Everything is just beginning.” It is, and it does. Then everything begins again, right here.
The poet as one who maintains a history of one’s activities. The poem as record, as in ledger, one entry per every other line, record as something we replay when it’s a favorite. These lines now live in my head. They are strange enough to keep me on my toes, familiar enough to seem like they are talking about me and everyone I know. In fact, I do want to “hang out” with this new book and its author.
– Stacy Szymaszek
Ali Power is the author of the book-length poem A Poem for Record Keepers (Argos Books, 2016) and the co-editor of the volume New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight (Rizzoli, 2014). Power’s poems have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, LIT, No, Dear,The Pen Poetry Series, and elsewhere. From 2008 to 2015, she was an editor at Rizzoli Publications in New York. Currently, she is pursuing her master’s degree in social work at New York University and co-curates the KGB Monday Night Poetry Reading Series. For more info: ali-e-power.com
Author photo by Hillery Stone.