Mechanical Cluster

Patty Seyburn

“The poems of Patty Seyburn are filled with a strange, ambitious, and compelling music made of the mythic, momentous, and mundane days of our lives. The poems arise from the gold sun and surf of California, the skies filled with western birds, but the poet finds illumination also in ‘the grid of lights and land/known as Detroit.’ This is a remarkable book. ” —David Citino, The Ohio State University

Mechanical Cluster studies the human machine as it moves through time and space, and the events that humanize us. It compels our interaction with the social world, while heralding the epiphanic moments that stop by as strange and welcome guests. The book is one of journeys and crossing over, of advances and retreats, and of dwelling in liminal states.

In the series of marriage poems titled Ketubah for the Jewish marriage contract, it examines ritual and rebellion, the necessary and ancillary components of love. In the series of riffs on film titled Celluloid, the narrator floats and digresses through associative waves of apprehension. The book delves into heritage and inheritance in a constant re-evaluation of what it means to be a morass of pulse and impulse. The voice of these poems inhabits and strays, puts down roots and abandons, goes West, goes East, attempting to define progress through some understanding of vehicle and trip with a revving engine in the background.

Sense of Things

Loose air ellipses from the open fist.
Wind chimes tuned to Chicago blues
five notes refuse

to resolve a chord due to brackish winds,
breeze’s beck, the ocean sullen
with white spume.

Nature hates a vacuum, just ask and
you’ll conceive. How can you even think
of raising an idea

in this neighborhood, with all these
sinister trees and cul-de-sacs? The world
is a poor fit. All the tailors

on Carnaby St. Rue St. Faubourg
and Seventh Avenue can’t do anything.
You’ll have to grow into it.

Patty Seyburn is adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.

Sep 2002
88 pp.  6 x 9

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The Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry

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