Author: Bill Carty

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Philip Rafferty: “the boldness of our going”—On Linda Russo’s Participant

Participant Linda Russo Lost Roads Publishers, 2016 The relationship between poet and environment is, as Linda Russo says in her title poem “Participant,” “kind of Euclidean.” This Euclidean space—the space between a set of points that satisfies a certain relationship—makes up the wonderful drama of Russo’s book. Her work reads as a contemplative stroll, a responsive and interrelational experience with nature and the world. Participant opens with an epigraph and a definition: Rain All interspersed with weeds, […] Rain Gathered from many wanderings- Rain – Emily Dickinson Rain Wan’der-ing (n.): peregrination; a traveling without a settled course;… Rain – Noah Webster’s American Dictionary (1844) The 19th century dating of Webster’s dictionary represents her first engagement with the Euclidean space she is exploring. We are prompted to imagine a fourteen-year old Emily Dickinson in her Amherst home turning to Webster’s to look up the word. The frame exemplifies the relationship between Dickinson’s “wanderings” and Webster’s “peregrination.” Russo is interested in what she calls “inhabitory” poetics. The poetic mode is one entrenched in place as well as associations, …