Patty Seyburn’s new collection of poems, THRESHOLD DELIVERY, is astonishing, beautiful, and thought-provoking. So much is covered–from the relationship that continues with her dead mother to what lies beneath the surface of Mahjong.
Great poetry should create immediate imagery and emotion with succinct word choices. Often, they reveal a pivotal moment where everything changes. Epic poems tell full stories, but most short poems merely reveal the moment and its immediate effect. Seyburn’s poems, no matter their length, tell complete stories, with facets and emotions, foundations and consequences. Each work is a fully formed experience that satiates like a short story or novel, while creating hunger and anticipation for the next poem.
Seyburn chooses words to evoke clear, specific imagery and strong emotion. Yet she also makes room for imagination and a personal frame of reference. The personal becomes universal and the universal becomes personal. There’s a sense of the unique and a revelation of the unknown that feels familiar.
“For me, a twinge/serves better than Proust’s pastry/for a trip through/my catalog of injuries…” This is a fresh perspective on an experience that is both funny and familiar. Seyburn is a master of the “Ha-ha-ow!” principle, which causes laughter while still poking at a painful truth.
“The pepper tree looked like a child drew it/with a compass” creates a clear, specific image so tantalizing that the scent hovers just beyond the words, triggering one sense while enticing the others.
The placement of Seyburn’s words on the page adds to the experiential nature of each poem. How she guides the phrasing and breath, which lines are centered, and which are indented; when to run it together like a paragraph/prose poem, where the punctuation is set. She invites the eye to experience the poem, to connect to the ear and the heart. It’s possible to breathe the poem while reading it, making the experience both intimate and active, rather than voyeuristic.
Patty Seyburn’s THRESHOLD DELIVERY poems engage, seduce, and invite, creating what feels like an experiential read that beckons all the senses. It’s a book that won’t stay on the shelf, but will be read, re-read, and re-experienced, with new discoveries each time.
~Eva Schegulla for IndieReader