Some Say the Lark

Jennifer Chang (The History of Anonymity) is an accomplished poet with a distinct voice whose work has appeared in PoetryAmerican Poetry Review and the Nation. In her vivid second collection, Some Say the Lark, she is at her inventive best. Divided into four sections, the book takes its title from a passage of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in which Juliet purposely calls the song of a lark that of a nightingale in order to prolong the amorous night and keep Romeo near.

So Chang plunges into the deceptions of love. She is a poet who merges the abstract and the concrete with fierce, visceral energy. "My guts vast, impossible," she states in "There Are Too Many Other Birds to Write About." In "Small Philosophies," one of the collection's best, Chang breaks up experience into "Phenomenology," "Logic" and "Epistemology." "You are a quality/ and a thing silenced/ by pine-shrug," the poet writes in the section of the poem devoted to phenomenology--a branch of philosophy concerned with human consciousness and self-awareness.

Chang's best poems are characterized by openness to pain, to language and the mysterious way it interacts with the wounded psyche. "It's work to gather the seasons,/ to ask a question that finds the feeling/ at the troubled core of thought," the poet states in "Lost Child." In being open to the meanings of love and loss, Chang also exposes the reader to new perceptions and possibilities of being. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

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