Wednesday, August 23, 2006



Klang by Andrew Lundwall
(Deep Cleveland Press, 2005)

Sitting with a difficult work sometimes leads to frustration, sometimes to a logical puzzle, sometimes to insight--I am sitting with Klang, a work whose title evokes the clanging of metal or simply of objects or ideas clashing, especially since the title rings in our ears as clang, though we’ve been given a k--the title itself clashes with our standardized spelling of it, as though to make us question if we’re really talking about clanging, which is to say that in reading this work the first thing I notice is that I have to be ready for the sucker-punch, for ideas coming from odd angles or from unusual syntactic combinations. In reading Lundwall’s words, I feel that I need to be hyperaware—logic itself might help in interpreting this work, but intuition is needed if not evoked from the poems themselves.

So I’m sitting with Lundwall’s words in front of me. To say that I’m just reading seems only part of the process--I feel as though I have a map in front of me with directions on multiple pages, and as I leaf through I find that the directions connect so that I must spread the imaginary grid on the desk in front of me to figure out a destination, a destination partially of my own choosing, but a destination none the less. At times Lundwall leads us a little, but he is fond of stepping back to trip us from behind into a chasm of images.

Take, for example, “Surprise Me With Learned Behavior:”

surprise me
with learned
saying this
the clock
like leaflets
of blood
of white
green maestro
steals a grain
the lever
pop off
his last
late enter-

The beginning leads us with a rather straightforward command, but by the time we get to the clock’s slow “trickle” the narrative pulse blows into pieces with “carnivorous / chunks / of white / meat.” What do the chunks have to do with being surprised with learned behavior? Is it that learned behavior avoids the horrific? And who is the “maestro” from the end? Is the maestro the one teaching the learned behavior? Are we his “late enter-/prise”?

The process of questioning images, ideas, in a poem is basic interpretation, but Lundwall’s poems in Klang call for a response that seeks deeper into the poem and into the person interpreting them than many poems, so that the first section’s title, “The Riddled Within,” seems appropriate—we are not solving for a meaning but are coming to see the riddled in ourselves.

I am sitting with Lundwall’s Klang watching for connections, being amazed by the patterns that flash like glimmers on water, and examining my own reaction to odd sounds that emerge.


William Allegrezza teaches and writes from his base in Chicago. His poems, articles, and reviews have been published in several countries, including the U.S., Holland, Finland, the Czech Republic, and Australia, and are available in many online journals. Also, he is the editor of moria, a journal dedicated to experimental poetry and poetics, and the editor-in-chief of Cracked Slab Books. His e-books and books include The Vicious Bunny Translations, Covering Over, Temporal Nomads, Ladders in July, and In the Weaver’s Valley.


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