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City of Regret

af Andrew Kozma

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Poetry. "In Andrew Kozma's poems, the world is intriguingly askew: `The desert sky opens like the mouth of a dying fish.' Cafes undress, walls merge with air, and rooms speak, sometimes even returning one's gaze, projecting strange images that will shadow you like portraits whose eyes follow you around the room and even into the street. Kozma is at his best evoking those odd moments of disorientation when the stuff of your life transforms, seeming to submerge into a matrix of dream--`those moments air becomes solid and you stare through ice / like a man in a glacier....'"--J. Allyn Rosser.… (mere)
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City of Regret by Andrew Kozma is broken into five parts and each section is named for some element of the city — entrances, walls, living spaces, alleys, and exits. As a prologue to the collection, Kozma begins with the poem “Dis” (page 1), which is a fictional city in Dante’s The Divine Comedy containing the lower circles of hell. Like Dante, Kozma goes on a journey through hell, but the poet is traveling through these circles to find his father who has died and with whom he has unfinished business as he says in the final lines: “When a ravine splits the sky, Earth’s muddy light/unearths my father. We have much to talk about.//” This poem sets the tone for the remainder of the collection with its melancholy and mournful tone.

In the first section — Entrances — Kozma uses individual poems to explore the various ways people and other beings meet, greet, avoid, and rush toward death. In “That We May Find Ourselves at Death” (page 8), he echoes the lines of Emily Dickinson, who could not stop for death, when he asks where you go when you are late for death? He questions how death is confronted when it has already happened and there is no way to turn back the clock. But in other poems — such as “Night Meeting” (page 6) — the poet evokes violent images of a dead squirrel’s body pulsating with ants to demonstrate not only the sudden impact and violence of death, but the messy aftermath that often follows. However, death need not always be violent and unexpected, it can come silently . . . gradually like in ” Your Sketch of the Church in Mourning” (page 13): ” . . . You step with silence,/walking out, and walk slowly. Navigate the marble floor/softly, or you will not hear the dead/call after you.//”

Read the full review: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2011/04/city-of-regret-by-andrew-kozma.html ( )
  sagustocox | Apr 27, 2011 |
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Poetry. "In Andrew Kozma's poems, the world is intriguingly askew: `The desert sky opens like the mouth of a dying fish.' Cafes undress, walls merge with air, and rooms speak, sometimes even returning one's gaze, projecting strange images that will shadow you like portraits whose eyes follow you around the room and even into the street. Kozma is at his best evoking those odd moments of disorientation when the stuff of your life transforms, seeming to submerge into a matrix of dream--`those moments air becomes solid and you stare through ice / like a man in a glacier....'"--J. Allyn Rosser.

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