The work of Mary Rising Higgins -- in the eariler red
table(S and now in this wonderful volume -- is a recent and thrilling
discovery for me. It is a work of precise inventions, work of imaginings
that are carefully fantastical, compassionately observed. It is work of
unfoldings. In oclock, Higgins's book of minutes, the unfoldings
occur as turning spaces of time, as thought figures, as illuminations.
But, as in the medieval books of hours to which I comparing oclock,
one discovers here not only the beauty of the work but also the suffering
and fear that exist in the times of which it speaks. oclock is
an exquisite realization.
Potes and Poets Press keeps happily spotlighting the adventurous, as in
oclock's "dizzy topspin" "gap texture" "shapeshift"
"fusebreak" "textimony" to "shake / subtext"
"in smooth phrase loop rush mention" "how each link flares"
-- "what possesses you sometimes obsessing on how the words take
us along to catalog anywhere I look predisposed by" so "the
I begins to recognize herself." Especially liking the integer &
interim-marking run-on "wordsplash" & ellipsis-framing of
micro-association. Where "words happen to the body," hope gets
For these already smitten with the miracle and musculature of language,
here is a virtuose who paints and sings under the influence of discipline
and joy. oclock offers the connoisseur of innovative writing a
work of supreme fluency, brilliant in technique and vibrant with taste,
judgement, and intellect.
--Shiela E. Murphy
In Mary Rising Higgins's oclock what is at stake is the conventional
power of the line and poetic shape. Still present, this linear pivot is
made to wobble with iconic neutrality and habit, giving way to dizzying
and dazzling protean shifts. A kaleidoscopic paralinearity? Perhaps. Yet
memory icons too: the Baroque curve, traces of Herbert's Easter Wings,
Apollinaire's Calligrammes and Malevich's suprematist squares all
find evocation. All of this is to affirm that Higgins writes out of a
solid knowledge of her linear past and offers a perverse reverse aubade.
Inside this radical exoskeleton, the reader encounters the breathtaking
impact of fertile, shifting signification materially as well as ideally
asserted. Commas, those minor ants in the linguistic ecosystem emancipated
into errancy, call attention to themselves and the major register of the
text itself: a rich syntactic-semantic intermesh so evident on every page
and best to call syncope. Derrida speaks of differance as both the spatialization
of time and the temporalization of space. It's the splendid poetic realization
of this chiasmus that is oclock's great achievement.