I Wake with Eyes the Sound of Nectarines by Annie Grizzle
Language we know is somatic and yet this fact often eludes us. In Annie Grizzle’s I Awake with Eyes the Sound of Nectarines, we are bluntly confronted by the compulsion and confusion of a word’s becoming, first as body, then as breath, and ultimately as sound. It is this vibrational process that Grizzle, in kinship with the poetics of Charles Olson and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, explores most evocatively. “Am I not vibration?” Grizzle asks the reader, “standing before you, humming my mush,” and we, too, feel compelled to examine our own mushiness like a primordial call and response. Listen, it’s 2023. The fads of Deconstruction are tacky compared to the neural networks of mycelium or the incandescent songs of sperm whales. Meaning is a byproduct, but sound is an essence. Grizzle’s work invigorates us toward the essential and sloughs the hermeneutic nastiness that eventually becomes ideology. Read this book the same way you would a lemon, or a river, or a cicada obscured by an elm. “The HEART, by way of the BREATH, to the LINE,” Olson asserts in his essay “Projective Verse.” We suggest trying it both ways.
Annie Grizzle is a poet and shoemaker interested in the sonic and visual capabilities of language. She lives in Milwaukee, WI where she runs The Shoes of Disquiet.