Yeah No, by Jane Gregory
Jane Gregory’s mystifying second collection, YEAH NO, begins with a “Knock knock,” inviting the reader into a realm where “Everything is a pattern / of yesses and no.” Within these pages we find Gregory constructing a multivalent world—ripe with struggle, prophecy, and, by the end, a resemblance of hope. Using her highly-tuned sensibility throughout, Gregory guides us through the anxieties of this journey by inventing new and enigmatic forms filled with sonic experimentation and polyphony. YEAH NO builds upon the singular vision found within her previous collection, My Enemies, and continues her elegant and challenging address to poetry.
At the beginning it feels almost awkward (as well as anguished). Written in poems that are accretions containing both language that's constantly questioned and a more subtle, subterranean lyricism: "the bower made of agitation" seems to be the form, and the book seems to be about being agitated by different impulses. Suddenly, more than mid-way, everything comes together into a new tone, and what was hesitance, is a method. "I am against achievement," Jane Gregory says in obvious and thrilling mastery of poetic form. She really takes over then, and the reader's pleasure is acute. This is a terrific book to go through. —Alice Notley
To take the relentless work of sensing / making / relating / judging / desiring / suffering / trying ("What? // Yes, and little else") and wrest it via language into bombs of awful hope and gorgeous despair just is poetry's job, and in Yeah No Jane Gregory makes it fully and spectacularly hers. "Thank what is clear / for the grimness," she writes, "what the future's retrojection bore a hole right through." Gregory's taught and particular rigor is a contagion (read: corrective) that I dearly want to spread across the present tense. Take note of what happens to your heart—I mean the organ, "tenderer, tenderer now"—as you read this mighty book. —Anna Moschovakis
Jane Gregory is from Tucson and lives in Oakland. Yeah No is her second book. Her first, My Enemies, was published by The Song Cave in 2013. She is co-founder and co-editor of Nion Editions, a chapbook press.