15: A Poetic Engagement with the Chicago Manual of Style

Susan Landers

"Sue's writing has always displayed the most remarkable tension, one that never gives over to easy resolution--wildness fraught with restraint & vice versa. It's that diligent feeling for risk I've always been in awe of when the bomb squad sets to work in the movies. Blue wire, red wire, freezing the timer just before the place blows. Here, with a measure of respect but no deference, she opens the shell on what I guess might seem an unlikely explosive device--the Chicago Manual of Style! From that elegant bomb she coaxes out feeling & expression with a jeweler's eye for sentence construction & delivers us a balletic grammar of error & concision. She brings the bomb to life, the tick tick tick of 'the rules' such as they are, they way they trouble & enable our thinking, & the heart. There's a satisfaction here, of getting it just so, & bending that just so-ness toward through the mess of what that metronome would seem to not abide & yet does. A little. The poet makes it so. That's the magic grenade of Sue's gift to us here; "An image of generous unity and synchronicity. Until one realizes how necessarily idiosyncratic breath must be." I love this book. Y'all should totally read it!"
—Dana Ward

Susan Landers is the author 248 mgs, a panic picnic (O Books 2003), and Covers (O Books 2007). She edited the early aught journal Pom2. Recent poems have appeared in Elective Affinities, Try Magazine, and The Recluse. She lives in Brooklyn.