200.1: Christine Herzer:: Language Room VI
18 January 2016
Christine Herzer's "Language Room VI" is spacious, generous. When I say this, I'm referring to its broad plains of white space. Wait. Let me write that again. I'm referring to the poet's remarkable talents for shifting tone when a shift is least expected. No, that's not right either. I'm referring to the poetic project as a whole, a palimpsest displaying its scratch-outs and allusions for us to read (or not to read). Or maybe I'm referring to the title, its evocations of space, of an ambient poetics that draws its primary inspiration from pale morning light drifting through a window. Is there a window in the Language Room? Let me try this again. The Language Room is not obsessed with light, but with walls. Etchings and scrawls. Quotes in French, German. Even chromatic arithmetic. The walls display one generation of consciousness after another. And this is what I meant, originally, about spaciousness and generosity. A sense that you and the poet could go left or right, could discuss toast or the aesthetics of rejection letters in a single experience. That you might walk through this poem as you do through a room. Not walk, but wander.