Boris Dralyuk’s “My Hollywood” in the TLS: “microscopic close-ups of experience.”

Poet Boris Dralyuk…

Boris Dralyuk‘s My Hollywood (Paul Dry Books) continues to get high praise (we wrote about it here and here), this time in the Times Literary Supplement. The critic is the eminent poet Rachel Hadas (we’ve written about her here), writing: “The formal panache and ingenuity that make My Hollywood so pleasurable to read also serve to heighten its poignant blend of celebration and elegy.'”

An excerpt:

My Hollywood, Boris Dralyuk’s debut collection of poems, is so thematically coherent, so satisfying as an achieved gesture and mood, that it is easy to overlook just how multidimensional Dralyuk’s art is. While admiring the integrity of the collection as a whole, we can appreciate the minute details that stand out – “No molds or lasers, just the human touch”, as “The Minor Masters” has it. Or can we only take in the pattern of the whole when we have studied the details of Dralyuk’s craft? However we approach them, these poems reward close attention.

… and poet Rachel Hadas

Some lines offer almost microscopic close-ups of experience. Looking at old LPs in “Universal Horror”, the poet notices that “Motes build tract housing in the grooves of vinyl”. “Plants in Pots”, a couplet dedicated to the late Samuel Menashe, shares Menashe’s compressed wit and fondness for wordplay: “Calm captives, inch by inch, they make their flight, / and reach the window, bent on seeing light”. In “Notation” the view is closer still: “I was the tangled sheet / still clinging to your feet, / holding your ankles bound”.

Dralyuk’s imagery is consistently precise and unexpected, especially when it comes to technology. Thus, “A crow clacks in the branches overhead, / like a projector slowly going dead” (“Aspiration”); memories are “like VHS tapes after years of viewing / and spooling backwards to the sweetest spot” (“Bargain Circus”). In “Babel at the Kibitz”, “ACs burr and wheeze like old hasidim”.

The whole thing behind an inevitable paywall here.

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