The After Party journeys across borders and eras, from cold war Central Europe to present-day New York City, from ancient Rome to New World suburbs, constantly testing the lingua francas we negotiate to know ourselves.
Many of these poems filter her earliest memories through the scrim of folklore, from which they borrow their swift, severe causality and, especially, their terror of abandonment. Their aesthetic is bright, kaleidoscopic, a child’s vision of abundance frozen and preserved ... Prikryl’s memories of childhood are intensely sensory: lacking a family narrative with a clear form, she presents, instead, unusually vivid, one-off impressions and colorful hunches about what they might have meant ... Language in this enchanted book sometimes seems to have an independent intelligence.
Reading some of her poems is like walking into a movie theater in the middle of a film one knows nothing about, trying to figure out what is happening on the screen, irked at first that the answer is not forthcoming, and gradually growing more and more entranced by the mystery of every face and every action, detached as they are from any context ... What makes Prikryl’s poems different is the way she subverts conventions by shuffling or leaving out entirely the chronology of events, blurring identities, cutting abruptly from one scene to another without explanation, and relying on the reader’s imagination to bridge these gaps ... a quality of attention, a presence of a probing intellect alert to the strangeness of our lives as well as our own estrangement from ourselves.
...like John Ashbery, a clear influence, Prikryl is most fascinated by the unpredictable zigs and zags of an imagination in motion, and language’s laughable (but reliably amusing) incapacity to map that course precisely ... Prikryl is throwing an after party for the 20th century, with irony and tautology providing the entertainment.