May 7, 2009


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Micrographia, by Emily Wilson (University of Iowa Press, 2009, 48 pages)
By Dan Szczesny

On the surface, Emily Wilson is a nature poet, swimming as she does in the complexity of and beauty of the simple phenomenon of mountains, trees or water. But Wilson is not content with simple nature — her poetry is deeply complex, her syntax relentlessly intricate, and her diction is virtually a character itself in her poetry. The nature in Micrographia is huge and intimate at the same time — made so by Wilson’s unapologetic style. In “The Spruce” Wilson offers a modern ode: “It dazzles rather / withers the grass with dinted shade / densities figuring / what to see, blue, blue segments / the spruce.” This is poetry of another age, full of itself, unabashedly flowery and rightfully wonderful. Wilson does not wink at the camera and finds no irony in phrases like “basal aigrettes like chamois insoles,” “beautiful forestations of made language” or “garnets shrill in the schist.” It’s nearly impossible to not give yourself over to Wilson’s insane, intense language, and why wouldn’t you want to? B+