Author: Diane Seuss
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Diane Seuss' fourth poetry assortment, ‘Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl,’ is named after a Rembrandt painting. The canvas is ordinarily immense, portraying one fledgling hung by its feet and the other lay on its side, blood spreading the surface underneath it. In any case, what's frightening isn't the violence; it's the look of the young lady, roosted at the window, who gazes at the fowls vacantly. For Rembrandt, the demonstration of looking itself is repulsiveness.
It bodes well that Seuss' book, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for verse and a National Book Critics Circle Award, would take as its namesake a portrayal of viciousness and witness.
‘Still, Life,’ to a great extent, includes ekphrastic sonnets that both mirror and jokester the works of art at which they look. The main sonnet in the assortment, ‘I Have Lived My Whole Life in a Painting Called Paradise,’ sports long queues that are thick with rich, multihued portrayals: ‘jade/moths,’ ‘goldfields,’ and ‘mink-hued’ hares open a world in Technicolor.
That world impersonates nature in certain regards—its highlights and practices—yet uncovers itself as a flawlessly delivered lie, made odd not by its threats (‘fields of needles organized into blossoms’) however by an irregularity that they address. The incongruity of heaven, Seuss knows, is that it's fiction at chances with itself.
The pleasant and the peculiar pair impeccably in Seuss' sonnets and even carnage have a contemptible appeal. In ‘Memory Fed Me Until It Didn't,’ she composes of a cow's head, ‘It's watery eye/looks back at me and I fall head over heels in love. I fall head over heels in love once more.’ These peculiarities—not blossoms or seas yet things weird and offensive to the eye—are Seuss' treats, and she gives them to us an assorted, broad range.
She utilizes paint-sample tones, similar to ‘cream’ and ‘salmon’ and ‘smoke-dark,’ and furthermore figures and articles—dead turkeys, blood clusters, Cheetos, Rice-A-Roni—as advantageous colors and shades. Shading is living, material, something to be burned-through. But then, notwithstanding Seuss's advantage in craftsmanship, she is never blinded by it. It's not excessive inquisitiveness that prompts her perception but rather a sort of need.
She appreciates workmanship without failing to remember that it's just a copy; she addresses whether reality, with the entirety of its surface and dimensionality, can be known by any means. What is lost in the hole between the real world and its fiction? Maybe everything. ‘Craftsmanship,’ she muses, is just about as ‘futile as tits on a pig.’
The beautiful and the bizarre pair perfectly in Seuss' sonnets, and even carnage have a miserable appeal. . . . She respects craftsmanship without failing to remember that it's just a copy; she addresses whether reality, with the entirety of its surface and dimensionality, can be known by any means.
This assortment grandstands an artist who is thinking of probably the most energized and complex verse today. . . . Before the finish of the book, everything is bigger and more dynamic—the artistic creations, the speaker's life, the reader, and the biosphere. This is the brightness of Seuss—everything is vivified and confounded by her brain, a psyche that suspects that quietness holds truth.
All through this rich assortment, the speaker utilizes craftsmanship to show how ladies and the lower class have been depicted and outlined, as it were, by normal practices and assumptions. She challenges since quite a while ago held thoughts regarding the worth, advantage, and excellence, and makes an elective scene through self-pictures Gothic actually life's.