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Book Review Marvin Gladney
Brief Capital of Disturbances
Poems by George Albon

Brief Capital of Disturbances is a startling book of poems that poignantly reveals the potential in the meeting of a well-chosen form and an insightful poetic voice. The intersection of a well-selected form and a singular voice often produce new vocabulary and Albon doesn't disappoint. "Instanticity" arrives (italicized by the poet) on page 79:

The President's advisors kept stressing the word, as if he didn't understand it, pronouncing it more slowly and meaningfully with every repetition, instanticity.

Albon's primary achievement, however, is not necessarily the coining of new words, but the suggestion that we accumulate the images he offers not through a continuum of time, but rather across a moment revealing how difficult such a tasks is. Writing in the strictest sense can't produce such an effect, but its evocation and presence as a poetic ideal fuels the poems here and asks what few books can: that we leave the space of the book in order to define and experience the book's gravity. Albon writes in the book's opening stanza:

There's something about the book I'm reading—about the cadences? the vocabulary?—that puts me in a narrative outside of it, between the lines as it were, a scene where I'm following a snow choked trail down to the start of a forest and the promise of a stream I can cross, closing in on my destination.

Such excursions beyond the pages of a book are how readers create meaning and here the process is made plain and poetic. Albon is not only concerned with betweeness: Brief Capital's form arms readers with a kind of special cognitive tool as they are whisked through newspaper headlines, the minds of actors as they forget their lines, natural phenomena of various kinds, and an episode of a payroll clerk plotting her escape in the moments before she loots the till.

Ultimately, there is something daunting about investigating the infinite. It has the appearance of being naive and there is something within the very idea of impossibility that colors its investigation as utterly useless. Yet I found this book successful and intriguing in the way it opens upon possibility, gracefully, in a book that traverses across an impressive spectrum of textures. Albon's use of the ordinary is tactile and forces you to slow to a crawl through what you quickly recognize, at its onset, as a very long journey.

Brief Capital's success is rooted in the range of situations Albon chooses as well as the constant adjustment of the mode each stanza employs ranging from the prosodic to the philosophically poetic. His range left me wondering how the poet made the choices of disturbances on which to focus his poetic eye. Albon utilizes an impressive range of narrative postures in a manner that not only questions the boundary between prose and poetry, but places their respective shortcomings and strengths in service to one another. Brief Capital's form asks that you read each stanza with an eye toward a kind of narrative equality even as the stanzas that comprise the book vary widely in richness, length and shape.