Laynie Browne's latest poetry collection, Translation of the Lilies Back into Lists playfully employs the list poem and delivers poems which evade genre and subvert the quotidian material of daily life. These poems consider elegy, absence and bewilderment while allowing associative logic to make poetic leaps in imagination and mood that belie convention. This book explores the myriad ways one could attempt to categorize a lived experience with its dizzying infinitudes by marking it in finite language, and ultimately shows how poetry is an experiment for that translation Browne's exquisite collection considers language, time, and poetics in a way that is as electrifying as it is elusive. In homage to poet C.D. Wright, her title is inspired by Translations of the Gospel Back into Tongues.
It's everybody's biography, always "not yet begun," as well as the list of directions, questions, and observations for provoking an investigation into the interior of a life keenly attentive to the resonance of other lives. The reader recognizes herself as the I, the you, the character in a novel, someone missing, someone alive again—illuminated, self-conscious, caught in the act. Like C.D. Wright, whose work inspires the title, Laynie Browne is hilarious at a slant, provocative, and touching. Her language, which makes everything happen, has an incomparably swervy brilliance.
- National Poetry Series