Roof Books, 2019
erica kaufman's poems command me to follow the circuitous routes her words travel on the way to the occasion of a poem; I am swept along by her singular and sorrowful grammar. To read her is to know recombinant, reactive linguistic space, where poetry is coming from and always trying to get to. There's something neurological about her style but then you have to map it onto literary and personal history...and how is that done? Her "narrator without personality" is nonetheless wailing; she fears dying "gay and alone in the woods covered in ticks." Holding the high concept and the bloody high stakes together is paradoxical; it's hard. Only a master can do it.
If disequilibrium is our difficulty to fit and fix new ideas into our minds, then erica kaufman has always been the solution. Part of the addictive qualities of these extraordinary new poems is not just the poet's fresh concepts, but her genius ability to carve the spaces in our brains for her readers to understand and change how we see and act with the world around us. This is poetry to be shelved under Revolution. -CAConrad