Thursday, August 13, 2020

WITMonth Day 13 | The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn by Tanella Boni | Minireview

I first learned of Tanella Boni through A Rain of Words, which I finally reviewed earlier this month. Boni's poems jumped out at me enough that she was one of the authors I featured in last year's 50 Day Countdown, one of relatively few poets that I featured in the list. I don't quite remember when it was that someone (can't remember who, either, ack!) pointed out to me that a full length book of hers actually was published in English, but it immediately jumped to the top of my "must buy" list. And once I received my copy of The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn, it was pretty clearly bumped to the top of my reading list.

I read The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn in a single sitting. It's not a poetry collection, but a poetry book, that rare, single piece that fits together so very neatly and tightly that I'm not sure why there aren't more such works. (I imagine because they're so hard to pull off well?) Reading Boni's writing (translated by Todd Fredson) reminded me of reading Inger Christensen (tr. Susanna Nied), not because the styles are necessarily similar (though both have a certain thematic clarity that I think complement each other nicely), but because like Alphabet, The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn left me fairly breathless. It's the sort of breathlessness that comes from wanting to swallow the words whole, pausing, reflecting, but needing to keep reading, always needing to keep reading. Some lines biting so strongly you recoil, some lines so beautiful you can't find your next breath, all of it flowing in the best way.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I cannot review poetry. What can I say here? I loved The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn. It's one of the better single poetry books I've read in ages, ranking up there with my favorites. Not just the language, not just the structure, not just the use of breaks and pauses and recurring motifs, not just the flow, and not just the emotions. All of these things together. If I liked Boni beforehand from a sample of her poetry and knew I wanted to read more of her writing, I can now say that I want to read all of her works. I want to be able to bask in her poetry, whether individual, isolated poems or whole works like this. Whatever she's written, I want it.

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