With their extravagant musicality, Triplett’s poems explore the thinning lines between responsibility and complicity, the tangled “supply chain” that unnervingly connects the domestic to the political, personal memory to social practice, and age-old familial discords to our new place in the anthropocentric world. Equal parts celebration and lament for the mechanisms we shape and are shaped by, these poetic acts reveal the poet as an entangled mediator among registers of public and private, intimate and historical, voicings. Here we traffic in the blessings and burdens of the human will to shape a world. What’s more, as we follow these linked enchainings of the deeply en-worlded citizen, we reawaken to the central paradox of our time, the need to refuse easy answers, to stay open, trilling, between these necessary notes of critique and of compassion.
Playfully contorted language dominates this fourth collection from Triplett, her first since 2009's Rumor. Triplett employs an economical and highly wrought, if staid, language, and the book's concerns hinge on a series of inversions that open surprising pathways of meaning and thinking. Rather than move from the particular to the general, as many poems do, Triplett instead moves from the general to the particular, winnowing down a large-scale image or abstract digression to a specific occurrence, image, or memory. In the book's opener, "Round Earth's Corner," she follows such a path through the electrical grid: "the sidling// miles of cable keeping me connected, the metals/ dug, welded, smelted from cooling cores,/ bauxite and ore, beat to unairy thinness." Triplett also playfully references the poetic tradition, as when she takes T.S. Eliot's line "the roses/ Had the look of flowers that are looked at," and morphs it for the surveillance era, writing that "Things have the look/ of being spied on." These poems depict a self and a world formed by large-scale mechanisms and their effects on persons deeply entrenched in causal chains and the ethics of supply and demand. While Triplett's language occasionally gets away from her, this is a highly lyrical and sharp collection.