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Wednesday September 20, 2017
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Cody Walker

 

continued

compensation for the effort the reader must give it. Sometimes the language can seem completely flat, with none of the interesting sound patterns we expect from poems.

Sometimes, but not always: witness the delightful and provocative poetry of Cody Walker. Recently arrived in Ann Arbor from Seattle, where he was once elected Seattle Poet Populist, Walker published his first book, Shuffle and Breakdown, just a few months ago. In it, Walker shows that he can be smart without being pretentious, formal without being conservative, and funny without being slight. He has an ease, even a fascination with often dismissed forms, and plays with them in new ways. Here's one simply called "Limerick":

A new class of antidepressants
Is targeted at adolescents.
They lose track of time,
Of meter, of rhyme,
It's really sad.


Of course that last line is funny--because it breaks our expectations of the jaunty rhythm of the limerick and because the completely colloquial phrase seems out of place. And, then, he's right--it is really sad!

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