Magic Box by Peach Kander
In Swann’s Way, Proust is famously stricken with sudden, voluminous memory with one bite of a madeleine. In Peach Kander’s Magic Box, the object device is the book itself wherein the reader is immediately dizzied by the question of where to begin and what is real. “The summer I was crowned / Miss Rockaway Beach,” Kander opens their first poem, “everyone / was wearing those velour / tracksuits, which are so hard / to shake sand out of.” It becomes immediately clear that Magic Box will require a necessary suspension of disbelief, a patience for disorderliness, and a willingness to go comfortably astray in one’s own path to discernment. Kander’s poems are not unlike recalling memory itself. They deftly recapture the often labyrinthine and nebulous attempts to isolate a hazy image and to draw forth its apposite emotional validity. It is a book of negative capability, which concedes by its very form that the map to elucidation is difficult to read, but that the efforts themselves come with their own rewards. One is quick to remember, while adjusting Kander’s Magic Box from section to section, that memory lives in the body, and that we often have to readjust or displace ourselves in order to see deeper into the past or to move around the fictions we’ve created.
Peach Kander is a queer poet and dioramist who recently received an MFA in poetry from NYU. They are currently the poetry editor at Pigeon Pages. Their work can be found or is forthcoming in We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Nightboat Books), bæst, Sporklet, Peach Mag, Landfill Journal, Fugue, No, Dear, Dream Pop, In The Mood Magazine, and Roadside Piss Stop. Other creative property can be found in the Sephora archives.