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Found In Nature by Jen Tynes
horse less press 2004

In her debut book of poems, Jen Tynes summons a new structure of space and time with autonomous means: a phenomenology of tongues born from the “bare bones and thin-skinned” horse less press she co-founded herself. To enter these new and charged spaces demands surrender, a willingness to be spoken into by multiplicities; a desire to be aimed at, fired upon, breached. These poems deal a healthy crushing blow to poetry that is safe; poetry that assumes everything in this world simply corresponds. Tynes explores with scrutinizing acuity the ontological consequences for abandoning the thick skins of meaning associated with [language].

The book itself is simply constructed with hand cut pages and securely bound with red string. One should be careful not to lump the appearance of its form with the demands of immediacy. Wise things are simple; some are even bound in red string. Comprised of one poem per page in the form of paragraphs, one is elegantly vaulted into a quotidian landscape where hope is a leaky bucket, memories break the same way twigs do, and (un) certainties are always fluid. First assault:

that the photo represents our face

The complexity of the image traditionally takes precedence in all referential frames (even math needs objects to manifest itself. Nature?) However, where our beehives of meaning yield consolation, Tynes puts a dress on meaning and demands it to dance. The photograph could in fact be the image of a face, but a face is never a face. Very wise indeed.

Memory in these poems is pliable and may change momentum or direction at any moment. Perhaps this is one axiom one may lean on for a moment. Consider the randomization of experience when reading a poet that offers not only appetizers and dinner, but also a chance for you to eat you own heart for dessert. The subsequent motions of language uttering contradictions, tautologies, even truth!-are enough to send one spinning in syntactical ecstasy. Until you read that

Sometimes there is no choice, the rest of your life vibrating out of some hole.

Perhaps you shouldn’t lean on that axiom after all.

That which is, which is somehow lost in the stringent technical codes of our language is revealed in Tynes’ poems; these traversings, motions, splicings; these meanings. There are subtle gestures of reconciliation entwined in the strata crumbling before you face. Healing finds a voice in the violent sentence. Much is still hidden in the resonances here. (Yes, I am writing from there.) Like a forest, it is safe to call this multiplicity of her pen a Nature in of itself. This is a safe, predictable, and justifiable enterprise. An enterprise built on the de-centered experience. But this not the case. She does not allow us a calculus for feeling. If I tell you how these poems make me feel, that would be cheating. Or, how do you remember a dangerous flower? Remember: the finality of each poem is a continuation. In the poem there are many mansions. Consider how:

There are methods of strangulation.
Or its nearest subtitle: strange me, strange me now.

It is my suspicion that big things move underground (small presses in the shapes of horses included). Epistemology functions this way. Movements are slow, but every now an then we are reminded of its presence. Suddenly, the earth opens up and swallows a few people. These poems were forged there. De profundis. Do not expect short-term rewards for reading these poems. If you listen, they will haunt you. They will kick you, bite you, perhaps love you. They have already begun to strike at al you hold dear. If you are lucky, the earth may swallow you.

                                                    --Review by John Mulligan.


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