Eloquence in Detail: Patricia Carragon on Karen Neuberg’s Detailed Still


Detailed Still, Karen Neuberg, Poets Wear Prada Press, 2009

Detailed Still, published by Poets Wear Prada Press (2009), is a sensitive journey into Ms. Neuberg’s past. From her first poem to her last, Karen Neuberg entwines the book together using her memories as a common thread with the craftsmanship of a master weaver. For instance, in Science, Karen writes:

Science recalls an evening. The trajectory
of memory rehydrates the event, pulling it
out of an older faith, shaped like a set of
urns aligned upon horizon’s ledge.

Science’s memory is exact. The human memory “rehydrates the event,” permitting emotion to reshape it—“as anything more than an old coat that either still keeps you warm, or not.” Reading this poem, one sees two points of view: both intriguing and beautifully versed.

In The Bird, Karen takes us back to her childhood—she’s ten-years-old, and it’s spring. A bird falls from the white oak. Karen rushes outside to save it. Like a doctor, she checks the bird for signs of life and descriptively tells us what she does. But her emotions set in to prevent a burial:

Out from within
what had been breast
a mass of maggots crawled.
Backing away, I fled.
I did not bury it.

Touchingly, the acceptance of death doesn’t set in until years later, as stated in her last line; “Burying was something I learned later.”

Karen Neuberg’s Detailed Still is a provocative masterpiece of eloquence in detail. Her eighteen poems take the reader through a tapestry of logic, perspective and language, rarely seen in modern poetry. She observes and writes with a perfect balance between her analytical and artistic abilities. Detailed Still is a must read on everyone’s book list.

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Patricia Carragon is a New York City poet and writer. Her publications include Poetz.com, Rogue Scholars, Poets Wear Prada, Best Poem, Big City Lit, CLWN WR, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Clockwise Cat, Ditch Poetry Magazine, Mobius the Poetry Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly, Marymark Press, and more. She is the author of Journey to the Center of My Mind (Rogue Scholars Press). She is a member of Brevitas, a group dedicated to short poems. Patricia hosts and curates the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets and is the editor of the annual anthology.

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