SLOT – By Jill Magi
Ugly Duckling Presse, 127 pages, $17
Reviewed by David Giver, Poetry Editor
I could lie and tell all of you that I understood from the first page what Jill Magi was trying to accomplish with her latest collection, SLOT, but I think any reader of this collection deserves to know that I did not. I stumbled, I fell, I had plenty of false starts, but the book was always on my mind. And that feeling is not something that I always get from a collection of poetry.
The poetry, most of which is found, was cacophonous and hard to ease into with a syntax that constantly changes, an inevitability when mining words from documents, commemorative volumes, and reports by myriad authors on a long list of historical tragedies. While arduous, the journey was well worth my time and effort. Magi skillfully created a world of confusion in which I had to navigate in the hopes of getting to experience her poetry; a confusion that should be expected while travelling through the grossly tragic experiences of our shared history, heritage.
Magi does not try to eliminate the pain, or the awkward silences. Magi wants the confusion and the silence to be a part of the “new” history of commemoration from a society that looks forward to the memorials they build for the tragedies that they have suffered. Magi made the confusion palpable, and by doing so gave me a window into the confusion of tragedy and history in a way that I have never experienced before. I will never forget this collection, nor will I experience history the same way again.