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Patrice Vecchione
The Knot Untied

Palanquin Press
US Large-Format Softcover First Edition
ISBN 978-0-615-69370-5
Publication Date: 03-14-2013
70 Pages; $15
Date Reviewed: 03-24-2013
Reviewed by: Rick Kleffel © 2013

Index:  Poetry  General Fiction  

Stories can tell themselves. A story can emerge in any environment, and in 'The Knot Untied' Patrice Vecchione offers readers a subtle, fictionalized memoir in poetry. From the sequence of sometimes stark, sometimes sensual images and works, a story sneaks in and tells itself, making points with prevarication to underscore Vecchione's emotional veracity. The poems in 'The Knot Untied' are not confessional, nor are they obviously linked. Each one stands on its own merits, and these are clear. But the reading experience of the book itself goes beyond the individual pieces to take the reader on a very distinct and very real journey in language.

'The Knot Untied' is very carefully structured collection. It's divided into five parts; An Interlacing, Tangle, My Gordian Knot, The Tie That Binds, and The Knot Untied. The effect of this is to keep the reader's attention focused but also to make the reading itself easier. Each section can be read in a single, slow sitting, and the poems within each section hold a consistent and well-architected tone and feel. This is bolstered by the cover art from the poet herself and the beautiful design and layout that make reading a pleasure.

Between the sections, there are themes and images that are echoed, escalated and tapered in the sections; some quite obviously, others, more subtly. Overall, the book itself becomes a poem in which each component is not a word but a poem. The book-poem tells a subtle, surreal story of getting through a life, of marriage and mothers, of apprehending the details of the day, of making it to the end of that day and anticipating another. Vecchione captures the ineffable without effort.

On a per-poem level, there's a lot of variety even as the overall effect shows an undercurrent of connection. "Dispel Fear and Hesitation," which begins the book, is an appropriately strong invocation and invitation. "The Garden Thieves" is a close observation of suburban life and marriage, an evocation of the ordinary that is itself anything but. The poems build in intensity to the middle section and poem from the section takes its title, "My Gordian Knot," where Vecchione succinctly captures, "a helter-skelter of words run amok, / she reduced her daughter to prey." The intensity found here draws down in the works that follow as the writer finds the words that need to be released, the story that needs to be told.

Readers will find a variety of themes here; marriage, bees, the mother-poet/daughter relationship, a healthier connection to her father, the details of the natural world that comprise the small joys of every day are but a few. But Vecchione herself is always there, our narrator, our guide, our knot-maker and knot-untier, our poet, the quiet, clear voice of a life well-lived and the teller of a story well-told. We emerge from 'The Knot Untied' whole and complete, observant of the bits of our selves that tangle through our lives. Language is used well, and words are given their due. In the silent moments of our lives, when no one is about, 'The Knot Untied' gives us words and ways to see those words as parts of our lives and a parts of our selves that deserve and reward close, careful attention.

Editor's Note: Readers can hear Vecchione read several poems in our interview for this book found by following this link.

The collection is not for sale via *.*, but readers can purchase it online here.

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