Jean Day, The Matter


In The Matter, the inimitable Jean Day allows us into the "(historically inflected) thought" that resulted from her experience sheltering-in-place during the early stages of the pandemic. It is a poetry that continues the polyvocal, uncanny, and irruptive project of Day's most recent works, but dwells within the rhythms, rhymes, and textures of a diminished sphere— "we lived with only a modicum/ of understanding/ and spinach" while hoping that "[if] lightning strikes/ may it miss the spires/ of our attempts to contact// the other world." Toward the beginning of the pandemic, Achille Mbembe wrote that "the in-common is based also on the possibility of sharing unconditionally, each time drawing from it something absolutely intrinsic, a thing uncountable, incalculable, priceless." Day's latest reads like a text in-common: a glimpse of a roving poetic mind sharing with us its psychogeography in isolation, asking, "Am I the only one who wants to hunt/ the clay, the cave, the morning hours?"