Stop the Ocean | Laura Neuman
Stop the Ocean drops us into a book without a beach on which to read it. Laura Neuman’s poems ask: what geometries of language make spaces in which to meet—however briefly—here, here? Desire answers as a story embedded within others as traces of what was said and done. This collection begins with the problem of locating a body in a landscape. Here, a speaker tries out elements of the shifting locus for a rotating cast of surrogate bodies, continually moving house. Anything seen is fair game. In each case, the test of home is relation. Here, narration is many girls diving in a churning page exquisitely framed. Like the performers in the score of the forgotten dance, readers must shift from bodily context to another—warping, tearing and leaking toward presentness.
At the core of Laura Neuman's brilliant collection is a sense of an eternal linguistic animation, fueled by Eros, the fluid shape-changing deity, capable of bringing nature herself to her knees, polymorphous and desiring. Each trope spawns another, and language begins to merge and emerge from the mind's scape like a beating heart or waves of the sea. "Then comes the moment you realize you and the book are not separate after all, but together form a single organism." The ocean in Stop the Ocean is unstoppable.
— Ann Lauterbach
My body if covered in eyes is dazzled by this book still banging on my chest like an extra limb. Let your eyes echolocate by Stop the Ocean's magnetic field. Trust me when I say THIS BOOK IS STRONGER THAN 500,000 ANIMALS TAKING OFF YOUR SHIRT. Be pre-included in the folding field. Become an ambidextrous tree written and unwritten by a mystical grammarian who facets your eyes. Sea glass the sugar of maples—that's the declension redeclending here. These ideas have sea legs and a temper and they want to go for a walk with you.
— Melanie Noel
Laura Neuman's discerning poetic instruments take aim at what is "close by, but never exactly with us." The remarkable position the best poets maintain is like Neuman's position in the poem. It's like being put into a caravan of familiar faces with a new lens like new eyes like a new literacy getting us off the usual perusal. The power of this book is proof in the waves of aftershock, the lines rolling over and over through our days. I love nothing more than the poet who keeps me awake to the world like the poems in this book do and keep doing.
— CAConrad, author of ECODEVIANCE