Incidents of Scattering
Let’s begin with the simplest facts: “Dust & your body”—how the body must also revert to that from which it came. Such is the cosmic equation at the very heart of Karen Lepri’s wonderful debut, Incidents of Scattering. Lepri takes the self as “fig. I,” subjectivity’s iota that necessitates the existence of a world and others in it. As in myth, the erotic reveals itself as a cosmogonic principle, and the work of the poem is nothing less than to discover the laws of this world. In returning to Victorian science, Lepri attends to an ever-diminishing point in which a fact returns to the ether and makes itself available for something stranger than description: that cycle of poetic vitality in which our effort to categorize transforms into wonder’s staggering forms of attention. I might call Lepri’s discovery “empirical intimacy.”
Incidents of Scattering begins in the body, in the “bodily eye,” and moves outward. Now toward the physical world refracted through the writings of the Victorian scientist John Tyndal, now toward a lover’s body and on to mythic/cosmic dimensions of eros. Always in motion, shimmering syllables, “prism-quality/handled with/(squinting).”
Karen Lepri is a poet, translator, and writer of odd forms living in Brooklyn. Her poetry, reviews, and translations have appeared in various national and international literary journals, such as Conjunctions, Chicago Review, and Shearsman. She has been a recipient of the Academy of American Poets, Weston, Kim Ann Arstark, and Frances Mason Harris prizes for poetry. Lepri is the author of the poetry chapbook “Fig. I” published in 2012 by Horse Less Press. Her book of poems, Incidents of Scattering (January 2014), won the 2012 Noemi Poetry Prize. She is a former Writing Fellow at the Millay Colony. She teaches at Bard College’s Language & Thinking Program and Queens College while pursuing her PhD in English at the CUNY Graduate Center.
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$15 Paperback | Published 2014