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Topic: Ali Blythe

Twinning and Twining: Ali Blythe’s Twoism

In Twoism, Ali Blythe deftly moves across the line between witnessing difference and duality as if it is “a twin sheet suspended between us.” This is best represented in the twinning and twining of Blythe’s lines that on the surface explicitly state something, while layering a subtle, alternative meaning on top. As we find in the haunting poem, “Shattered,” the first stanza offers an image that is at once beautiful and horrifying: “your eyes look like / beach glass fresh / from a pounding.” The push and pull of such lines leads readers along a path which constantly bifurcates without ever separating. Wrapping your mind around that idea represents a large part of what appeals in Blythe’s poetry: the forward marching letters moving along, jarring against the elation of soaring into metaphor; the palpable and unresolved tension between syntagmatic force and paradigmatic pleasure; the physical act of reading; and the mental uprush of understanding.