menu Arc Poetry Magazine

Topic: andrea bennett

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.”