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
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
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
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
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
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
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
of narrative equality even as the stanzas that comprise the
widely in richness, length and shape.