Author Kristi Maxwell
Soft Cover, 5 1/2 x 7 1/2", 80 pages
New poetry by the author of Realm Sixty Four
"Kristi Maxwell’s new book of poetry, Hush Sessions, starts with a snippet from Gertrude Stein: “Superstition is to believe what you see to believe.” It is in this manner we are invited into the book, and we are attended all along the journey through the book by strange, gorgeous perceptions that the poet often calls into question."—Heather Ann Trahan, The Rooftop Voice
The notion of exchange circulates throughout Kristi Maxwell’s superlative second collection of poetry, Hush Sessions. In a series of utterly unique poetic experiences, things transform or transfer: superstition becomes science, and bodies become texts to read. In addition, family mythologies become sites of substitution and a borderland where irrationality and rationalization touch. Kristi Maxwell’s poetry reminds us that words, like objects, do not exist in a singular state, and their multiplicity is activated through perception: “a veil during/ the trying on rather than the pride of/ the dress.” As Fanny Howe says, Maxwell’s poems “have pure, ephemeral lines that suggest much thought about time and utterance, yet they float free without any need for explanation.”
Kristi Maxwell’s new book of poetry, Hush Sessions, starts with a snippet from Gertrude Stein: “Superstition is to believe what you see to believe.” It is in this manner we are invited into the book, and we are attended all along the journey through the book by strange, gorgeous perceptions that the poet often calls into question.
Maxwell’s poems smoothly exist in multiple worlds at the same time, describing a bodily failure while engaging in linguistic play, implying that the speaker should have used knowledge about language to predict her body’s behavior.
A mysterious accumulation, Hush Sessions is an exploration and meditation. It is a circling of image and thought, pieces of narrative (he & she), which begins with superstition, but comes to represent an even more ominous and heartbreaking sorrow. Kristi Maxwell whispers in hushed tones all manner of connectivity and relationship between. He & she. Husband & wife. Offspring & womb.
By turns pained and playful, deceptively clear and transparently oblique, these poems show a will toward meaning that must find its way through the signs, superstitions, and provocations of language. The commonplace world is greedily dismembered and collected, brought home to wallpaper a constantly emptied interior—of house, of body, of marriage, of idea. Is it a comfort, all this cutting and slipping? Is it poetic romp? Or does it follow the sorrow of everything else that falls apart and slips away? The poet won’t say, but the poems say yes, yes, and yes.
The wildly whispered and often mind-blowing poems in Kristi Maxwell’s Hush Sessions go to the heart of the matter beneath one’s breath—that is, the experiences and perceptions beneath the breath of language itself—especially those bits of us that can’t quite withstand the volume of the loud light of day. With lyrical abandon and an inside-out attentiveness to the echoes and shadows of our most depth-charged particles, these poems blast off in every direction at once, ever mindful of the notion that to sing a song interestingly, one has not only to hear it as it is and as it might be, but also as it isn’t and won’t. Maxwell sings in deeply interesting—not to mention moving—ways: atmospheric, subversive, and gorgeously close.