menu Arc Poetry Magazine

Topic: Alice Burdick

A Medium-Size Critique of Short Sentences: Alice Burdick’s Book of Short Sentences

Book of Short Sentences is Alice Burdick’s fourth book of poetry and her third with Mansfield Press. Like Burdick’s previous offerings, Book of Short Sentences consists mainly of plain language lyric poetry, a surreal half-step removed from reality in its leaps and juxtapositions. My favourite moment of narrative emerges in a (seeming) found poem entitled “Pleasant knowledge (a choral work),” which juxtaposes comment spam with contributions from sweet, lonely, punctuation-adrift internet strangers: “Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. / I found a sea shell and gave it to my four year old daughter / and said ‘You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.’ / She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was / a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.”

On Alice Burdick's "Winter Here"

“Winter here” (p. 92) is one of my favourite poems in Alice Burdick’s second book, Flutter, and stands as a kind of key piece for understanding Burdick’s unadorned, yet complex and conflicted, aesthetic. The first lines, uncharacteristically, are wordy and romantic. Very un-Burdick, very ornamental. A lofty eye names the natural world with high literary […]