(How Poems Work, August 2004)
What first struck me about “Notorious” was its sense of investigation. Here, Esta Spalding opens up a fissure in a life and dives into it. On the surface this is a poem about change, about death and resurrection, about how we inhabit ourselves. The form reflects this–the swathes of white space between stanzas are fissures in their own right and the unfinished nature of the ideas therein (lines or stanzas that end on words like “entered” “refusal” “stopped” and “find”) sends us into the crevasse while also creating a kind of poetic tension–fitting for a poem that references Hitchcock’s film _Notorious_….