Oct 17, 2008

Sex at Noon Taxes by Sally Van Doren

Sex at Noon Taxes by Sally Van Doren arrived in my mailbox from the American Academy of Poets. Van Doren's volume won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy. I read the title and spent a great deal of time pondering it before I opened the book. Is the sex at noon taxing or is it taxed at noon? There is a play on words here.

The book is broken down into four parts.

Sex at Noon Taxes is the first poem in the book, and the inscription mentions a painting by Ed Ruscha (at right). Here are some of my favorite lines from Van Doren's poem: "avalanche turns snowfall into/uncorraled horseshoes.//"

The images in Van Doren's poems leave the reader thinking, not because they are difficult to understand, but because they expel a number of meanings in a minimalist fashion.

As a writer, I'm always fascinated with how writers take on the craft in their work whether it's punctuation or poems themselves. Some of my favorites from this volume include "Preposition," "Conjunction," and "Pronoun/Punctuation." I'll leave those a mystery, but I will share with you some of my favorite lines from "Gephyrophobia." "If there is a bridge,/I cannot see it,/but I know I want/to cross it, to walk/" As you can see from the language, it is simple, tells a story, and holds an undercurrent of something deeper.

A lot of these poems display playful language and at times it is musical. Molly Peacock says that Van Doren's poems' "vocabulary fizzles off the page."

About the poet:

Sally Van Doren was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a graduate of Phillips Academy and Princeton University and received an M.F.A. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Her poems have appeared in many journals, among them: Barrow Street, Boulevard, Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, LIT, Margie, Parthenon West Review, Poetry Daily, Pool, River Styx and Southwest Review. She was a semi-finalist in the 2006 "Discovery"/The Nation Poetry Contest. Her poem, "The Sense Series," was the text for a multimedia performance at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

Van Doren has taught creative writing in the St. Louis Public Schools and curates the Sunday Poetry Workshops for the St. Louis Poetry Center. She divides her time between St. Louis and Cornwall, Connecticut.

***Reminder: You can win a copy of Wingbeat by Marilyn Meredith, go here. Deadline is Oct. 22


15 comments:

Veens said...

the title got me thinking too... exactly wat u thought about it :)
I love the verses that you have penned down here, and I so wan to read her poetry!

Beautiful. I will surely look for a copy.

thx!

Amy said...

She's from ST. Louis...that's where I grew up. Sounds great!

Serena said...

It was a great poetry volume and I highly recommend it. The poems are short and full of simple language, but each poem has much more depth.

nbbaker1102 said...

Interesting title.... Poetry has never been my thing. I'm not sure I'm deep enough. The imagery that the words you did provide were beautiful, though.

Serena said...

I don't think that you necessarily have to be deep to like poetry. So long as you find something in the poem that interests you--whether its a story, a symbol, beautiful language--I don't think it matters. Its here to please and entertain you like many other writing.

Shana @ Literarily said...

I wondered about the title too.

Thanks for sharing a few lines from one of the poems Serena. It gives a nice taste of the book.

Serena said...

Shana:

I'm interested to see if anyone else picks up this book because its very interesting. There are some great plays on words in the Conjunction, etc. poems I mentioned. As a writer I was tickled by them.

Iliana said...

Hi Serena - Guess what? You won my extra copy of The Society of S! Send me an email when you get a chance and I'll post this book to you next week :)

J. Kaye Oldner said...

Great review! :) Sounds like a very unique book.

Serena said...

J. Kaye: I thought you were taking weekends off...LOL

naida said...

great review, it does sound like an interesting book of poems.
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Anna said...

I'm not as into poetry as you are, but her work sounds interesting. I still don't get the title even after looking at the painting. LOL

I like the quote about how her vocabulary "fizzles."

--Anna
http://diaryofaneccentric.blogspot.com

Serena said...

I'm not sure how I would take it if someone told me my vocab fizzled off the page! LOL

Anonymous said...

The title of Sally's book is a palindrome -- reads same forward as it does backward...

Serena said...

Anonymous: Thanks for pointing that out.