An inventive, crisp-as-green-apple lyric impulse pours through these poems that rarely lose sight of Capitalism’s power over locale: “dear makers of the machine.” Aby Kaupang’s & there’s you still thrill hour of the world to love is made of buffalo wind, a Western place, art, a family torn and bound lovingly by disability, Beckettian humor, and formal invention. But most central to this book is its striking concern with looking. Alternate vantages shift, a gaze burrows deep into a dark bodily interior. In these poems the entertwining activity of the visual and the verbal is so delicately woven, inevitable––shifting, darting like our powers of observation, perception, consciousness. A beautiful meditation, a collage of dual art, a distinctive music of “miracle and practice,” & there’s you still thrill hour of the world to love is a book singing its resistance songs and love notes while looking back at itself as it coaxes us back to ourselves. Reading it evokes sensation, and many of them. “And” the book says, and “&.” This book invites and invites. What an imaginative feat.
Aby Kaupang’s porous, supple poems invite the reader into spaces of existential neighborliness, spaces where homing instincts tether us to landscapes, other people, and other species in a palpable web of interbeing: “I too am a part of the snowy junipers & the street lamp & the evening” and “I too am a part of the core of the world.” Each of these prismatic poems takes up its own utterances and revolves them, reprising and remixing phrases to preserve their errors and swerves, a process that yields language more pliable and tender, truer to human experience of hours, of time itself. Along the way, haunting images of James Sullivan’s fibrous and vulnerable figures illustrate one of the book’s central axioms: “so it’s clear to me / flesh is a window open to rot.” We could even call this a carbon-negative poetics, poem as source and sink, as source text and substrate for transformation, where “branch or breach / low & loamy the soil churns.” The transformations here are structural—“hues & weights / framed in landscape”—revealing almost algebraic properties within language
as it is subject to distillation, erasure, and enumeration “Someofusstayedtopractisepiecemealnecrosis.” Yet even in their most strenuous formal experimentation, these poems remain attentive to the deictic conditions—“here/there / & there”—that ground the speaker in the domestic and the everyday. With characteristic wryness about living—“bed bath & way / beyond”—Kaupang observes that “disability is a tree decorated in valentines & medical bills.” The poems are acts of both attention and devotion, whether counting cracked tree limbs in an ice storm, or accounting for “the things we’ll carry” in an evacuation, objects of human need from slingshot to synthroid to tampon. Giant ampersands are pillars of the practice, offering the next thing, et cetera, and the rest. In this book, rest is always both remainder, the balance of what’s left, and repose, solace. The poems of thrill hour know “your nests are enigmae / of etching come home // to the rest of the rest of your life,” and they envision how truly radical and transformative it could be to love the neighbor and the neighboring as oneself.
In & there’s you still thrill hour of the world to love Aby Kaupang constructs a new world order out of loss and erasure much like Christine de Pizan does in her medieval book The Book of the City of Ladies. Kaupang’s poems erect a discovered city, still dripping with seawater from its retrieval from the depths of the sea. In this city, we see through the windows: what it is like to grow into becoming the parent of a differently abled child; what it is like to be a woman in this world. Her poems are kinetic and immersive; they draw you into their orbit. I ate this book up and left feeling like I had learned a new way to see the world.
—Iris Jamahl Dunkle, author of West: Fire: Archive and Charmian Kittredge London: Trailblazer, Author, Adventurer.