REVIEW: Think Tank by Julie Carr

think tank

by Whitney Kerutis

Think Tank is a compilation of untitled poems that work on the individual level as well as a whole, resulting in a book of multiplicity. Reading Carr’s new collection is like being a child in a long corridor of locked doors, jiggling handles. It is in Carr’s axial lines that we, the reader, reach the door that flings itself open onto ’These aimless realms of privacy.’

And it is not just the reader that acts as the intruder onto the inner self, but also the poems themselves, lying both within and outside of the words, “streaks of water between panes of glass.” The words are both present and ever throwing themselves backwards to create a state of being in the real and in the blended frames of a dream where the child-like curiosity and over exposed mind are resolved.

Through her exquisitely stark coupling of household and soul, the images of body within this work act as mediators between the two frames –

My mother wrapped me in a towel and carried me from one room
to another, combed my hair under a lamp
Her wind is taken. Her soil turned. The infinite lines. The infinite lines
The non-infinite
Ocean. O—


A bit of peel, a bit of hardened peel, is my face
This speaker likes obsolescence, for there is no way to mimic what has
been taken from us
I walk around, constructing, for my mother, thermal videos with my
        own body

— and we begin to sense a book of attempted resolution between the binaries of the poet: the woman and the girl, the mother and the daughter, the artist and the citizen.

Joyousness fled, sex fled: something had to restore these things
        civic volunteer plum trees, like grieving orphans, defended nothing

And yet, these resolutions arrive in great pleasure, the lines, mimicking the book’s title, act as the belly of thought, their pacing music driving us from one image to the next until we are breathing the poem.

a headlock is to a hat as a tourniquet to a condom
a headlock is to a hat as knife to tongue

What might be most commendable about this work is its expansive leaps of imagination within such an economy of space. Every line in this book is a pulsating engine, pulling the reader’s mind further into its own field of imagination, further into the poet’s chalk like mind that bleeds together color, memory and space within the images and music it weaves.

Orchid blooming
in the bed
                She’s alone now, the littlest one, though she doesn’t know it yet.


Banter trees and blowsy blooms, my eyes are drained of their pupils week six of rotting mouth, and my erotic fantasies focus inward:
        the edge of the edge of the knee.

Julie Carr’s, Think Tank, straddles the real and the fantasy, producing a text that disengages from itself before returning once more. The words that move the reader from the multiple minds of the poet are themselves far from arbitrary. This book succeeds in its ability to be ever morphing itself into meanings.

Think Tank is available from Solid Objects.

Whitney Kerutis is from Arizona. She received a Bachelor’s of Arts in English with a minor in French and Creative Writing from The Unviersity of Arizona and will be attending the MFA program for Creative Writing in the genre of poetry at The University of Colorado Boulder in the Fall 2015. 

One comment

  1. Pingback: REVIEW: Think Tank by Julie Carr | THE VOLTA BLOG

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