The Sealey Challenge: Closest Pronunciation

Ed Roberson's CLOSEST PRONUNCIATION, with a spray of yellow flowers & green seed pods, a grass carpet, & a sunset over yonder.
Closest Pronunciation

Ed Roberson’s Closest Pronunciation is a deceptively small book: it isn’t as easy to read, at least for me, as its 32 pages make it feel.

I am not particularly familiar with Roberson’s opus, but at least in Closest Pronunciation he cleaves close to the land, exploring the ways in which space and place and humanity interact, from the shores of Lake Michigan to unnamed hills and mountains and beyond. Some of his poems are profoundly grounded in this quotidian world of ours; others edge into the fantastical, while maintaining a food here. Throughout, words and white space and an occasional black line work together, emphasizing the importance of space.

Closest Pronunciation is so very short, and yet it should certainly be read more than once: much like Andrew Colarusso’s Creance, Or, Comest Thou Cosmic Nazarite, which I read during last year’s Sealey Challenge, it is ever so clear that so much more is happening here than I’m going to catch on a single read. But I certainly caught Chicago, in its brutality and its beauty (and Lake Michigan has both in spades), and for that, Closest Pronunciation will always have a place in my heart.

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