Entangled Bank, by James Sherry.
Poetry. ISBN 978-0-9862640-8-5. 90 pages. Published November 1, 2016.
Entangled Bank opens with a set of five line poems dedicated to the “beauty” of various poets, a nuanced and generous version of Joseph Kaplan’s infamous Kill List, and concludes with a wrenchingly honest prose piece on Sherry’s correspondence with the late poet Stacy Doris on the limits of empathy. Between these gestures towards a troubled yet significant human connection, Sherry places poems in a variety of styles, as if styles were species in an ecosystem, a veritable “entangled bank.” Often he writes with scathing wit on the degradation of the environment and the fraudulence of the financial system. One line admonishes, “Wake up, this is about you.” And it is. You’re going to want it. — Rae Armantrout
Taking his theme from Darwin’s “entangled bank,” James Sherry pries open present life on the planet to reveal a tangled flow of vegetation, money, politics, beauty, selves, distributed networks, fish, nation states, death and friendship. “Couching nature as bundles and linkages,” he does not side-step the perils of hybridity but dives in head first: “Tamales of Sparta rolled global.” A dazzling display of formal invention leads up to an intimate, brutally candid chronicle of friendship and illness that is as clear-headed as it is passionate. And how can you not love a poem called “Memoir” that begins, “Dawn again / Fuck!” — Kit Robinson
Unbeauty will take you about as far as you can throw it, appeasing no one and nothing, all for good measure. James Sherry does not beware of entangling alliances, he foments them. — Charles Bernstein