Paige Taggart is a lapidarist and thus her poems are wondrous lapidarian curiosities. With her tiny hammer and poised exactitude she smashes at Western civilization—breaks at its numb surface, reworks the bits to reveal unwitting arrangements of lyrical jest and joie de vivre—a languorous zaniness dresses up the seriousness. Look at the moves in this poem. “We haven’t a room to spare but we have a visitor, no wait, she never showed-up”…The immense evocative presence of Virginia Woolf filters through this poem—and we are asked to contemplate the space we allocate for creativity.  Is there room for unqualified thinking—and unregulated imagination? Are processes like this supposed to take place exclusively in our personal abodes that cost us so much rent? Paige seems to question musing privatized by the sheer fact of our domestic arrangements. “She didn’t show up?” Why not—what detained the visitor we wonder. The visitor: creativity itself or an unnamed desire? The conjured image anticipates a bell tower that gets rung and so we think fleetingly about bell jars and Sylvia Plath and how the desire to think fluidly can lead to immense crisis and tragedy, yet the poem leaps ahead and we are pushed forward into a peripatetic whirr that conjures the poems of Frank O’Hara and maybe Kenneth Koch (the double and triple quality of words he writes about in the forward to his collected book of poems)— with femme flair; this poem, a sequence from The B Notebook is the meandering work of a flowing mind at play and there is abundant energy and locomotion, precision and nonchalance. I put the cracked agate there & instead of adopting a name for what doesn’t arrive, poured out the human train…mercurial shapeshifted presence. Bouncing ontological insight and then comes the part of the sequence that shifts the focus to psychoanalysis and a sensation of sailing in the wind. The transitions, the shifts—somatic swiveling—I could have never arrived at A. And yes, I think of Zukofsky. Then there’s this enigmatic, compounded list. Overload, the excess of our cultural selves straddling the abounding questions. Sleep, fuck, eat—remember…when that was THE LIFE.


Brenda Iijima’s most recent books include Early Linoleum (Counterpath Press, 2015) and Untimely Death is Driven Out Beyond the Horizon (1913 Press, 2015). She runs Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs.