PositivePloughsharesTeicher might have us believe something about the close-quartered intimacies readers overhear—that somehow we’re not meant to notice—but these poems belie their making: of course, one notices because the poems demand our attention ... Teicher ironically admits to himself, \'I find / my energies once again, diverted into a secondary, or tertiary, / channel, another eddying place\'—as if the act of writing a poem were somehow more than an eddying place where one returns to the same questions, obsessions, the same loves, memory. These poems gently nudge both their maker and their readers into remembering just how valuable, if not entirely sacred, that eddying place becomes when time continues: \'Craig, this is the only life you’ll get. / It must be you who cares.\'
PositivePloughsharesMennies accumulates a personal literary tradition, sharing that language with Naomi, situating these letters in a facilitation of poetry’s figurative powers ... Yet The Naomi Letters does not lecture about how or why poetry will change our sense of language, our selves, through metaphor—instead Mennies’s epistolary poems dramatize, as they interpret and interact with borrowed language, that selfsame power of figurative thought. The Naomi Letters is a record of one’s continued, lifelong reconciliation with their changing body, with the practice of faith situated in historical violence, with what increasingly looks like the volatility of the future ... While these poems will indeed remain in the shape Mennies carefully designed, they will continue to be experienced as words on the page, sounds in our voices—and that process of making will be enacted again, upon each reading, with forever extending timestamps ... The best poems...are made with such specificity, such unmistakable architecture, that hearing them is precisely this experience, this happening. As we actively engage with these poems, and as these poems conduct us through that engagement, their loved and beloved figures seem to almost, almost answer our questions.