By Kate Hall
Descartes asked, How can I know that I am not now dreaming? The Certainty Dream poses similar questions through poetry, but without the trappings of traditional philosophy. Kate Hall’s bracingly immediate, insistently idiosyncratic debut collection lays bare the tricks and tools of her trade: a mynah bird perches in poems but 'stands for nightingale'; the poet’s antelope turns transparent; she dresses up her orange trees with bark and leaves. As the dream world and the waking world blur, the body and the dimensions it inhabits become a series of overlapping circles, all acting as containers for both knowledge and uncertainty. At times disarmingly plainspoken, at others, singing with lyric possibility, these poems make huge associative leaps. Taken together, they present the argument that to truly 'know' something, one must first recognize its traces in something else.