Arcade - Book Cover

Erica Hunt


Kelsey Street

“Blending the personal, the political and the avant-garde, Hunt's (Local History) second collection explores the bipolar role of the self in a society whose totality is unreachable yet always present: ‘Who wouldn't aspire to become an alien in their own language for a moment to lose the feeling of being both separated and crowded by their experience?’ Though not quite reaching the philosophical horizons of language-oriented poetry, Hunt searches the idiom for ‘the words that unbutton/ the pants of ardent description.’ A calculated step into performance-oriented sing-song (‘tune/ tin tongue/ ritual/ spoon/ spin spun/ pinned on/ words’) helps us to read the more straightforward declarations (‘I believe in personal contact’) as provisional, even tongue-in-cheek, self-fashioning. All reflections here, however, are firmly grounded in the everyday. Through subway misadventures and interruptive phone calls, the poet is always present as a woman in and of the world. Saar, whose work appeared in the 1993 Whitney Biennial, focuses this collaboration between two African American women with 12 stark, haunting drawings (six on vellum) of black women and men in seemingly allegorical poses.” — Publishers Weekly