Poetry. Women's Studies. California Interest. The poems in (AVIARY) circle themes of enclosure, feminism, and the natural world. Much of the collection was initially composed in local public gardens, lending these poems an air of urgency, the stink of voyeurism, and the hum of participation. This collection owes much, too, to Mina Loy's prose poem Ladies in an Aviary, which lends language and thematic play to Kaplan's (AVIARY).
In (AVIARY) Genevieve Kaplan both relishes and challenges her limitations within these dynamic garden spaces and grants herself permission to re-design their elements of birds, leaves, beak taps, sugar, and shade. Borrowing scraps and hearsay from Mina Loy's 'Ladies in an Aviary, ' Kaplan ponders her own complicit inclinations. The poems' syntactical phrases veer, skip, and hover, defying time and vantage points: 'the only fine thing, the only petaled thing, the gray / path slowly curving to the right, to the left, curving away the only only / soft thing.' At once furtive and bold, Kaplan considers the very 'nature' of herself and these spaces and 'how / to get outside enough to see myself looking in.' An intricate and gorgeous book by one of our most inventive poets.--Molly Bendall.