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Review: ‘Polaroid Parade’, by Paige Taggart

Polaroid ParadePolaroid Parade by Paige Taggart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just spent some time this morning with this stunning chap from Greying Ghost. There’s a great deal to admire packed into this spare little gray book, most notable to me was the sweeping, bright colors coloring nearly every inch of the canvas here–if there’s any whitespace left over in the landscape Taggart paints, it blinds and chills you (think the first sunny-skied blizzard of the year). In this way the poems remind me of the work of my dear friend Naoko Fujimoto, who always seems to spread color simply and with a glossy sheen while always allowing in texture and depth.

Everything is in motion here, too; I also find myself reminded of some of the Smashing Pumpkins music videos, and Cornell boxes, little stop-action animations going berserk (quietly), absurd non-narratives telling you their stories. What really works about what Taggart is doing for me is the deft way she resists the temptation to really let a narrative form, or to let this dreamscape develop and employ its own language. Imagery and syntax pop and cohere and dance and pass out left and right, and there are even some recurring almost-characters and themes and objects, but everything is so unsettled and unsettling…things, yes, cohere, but dissipate and shatter almost as quickly, the minute you’ve got your finger on a ley line you’re plummeting again. Another note on the syntax, this chap really shines linguistically in flowing, airy flourishes that hold themselves tight even as they float away–Taggart’s speaker / constructor / maestro play-by-plays confidently but with a wide-eyed surprise and wonder. This production feels like a very imaginative and matured vocabulary of images and language filtered through the sort of unbridled scope of a playscape of playthings we might think of as childlike in the freedom seen at work.

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