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Topic: Maureen Hynes

Whispers of Pointillism: Maureen Hynes’s Sotto Voce

Ever since Emily Dickinson told us to tell it slant, poets have approached truth indirectly from refracted angles of their individual talent. In her fifth book of poetry Maureen Hynes approaches the truth through undercurrents of sotto voce, where words are overheard in quiet cadences. The cover of Sotto Voce displays a beige slope with a stand of darker trees, and an empty space for Hynes’s voice and vision to shape the contours of mind and landscape. Part of Bob Hainstock’s series of Simple Forms, the cover image, like the poetry within, conceals the quiet complexity of understatement. Just as Hainstock dots his landscape with rust patterns, so Hynes touches rusty railings to “etch a pointillism” on her palm. Indeed, through pointillist undertones Hynes indirectly apprehends many truths.