Below is an excerpt of Rebecca Kaiser Gibson’s review of Said Not Said by Fred Marchant:
Marchant’s generosity is expressed in an extraordinary balance of the immediacy of fresh description and the shapeliness of perspective. Vivid scraps of memory, patterned by Marchant, cohere and weave through this elegant collection. Wound together are Marchant’s childhood as witness to his sister’s illness, his education in Catholic schools, his period as a marine, his subsequent status as a Conscientious Objector, his post-graduate education, his friendships with and translations of Vietnamese poets, his years as a poetry professor, his deep friendships with poets and others, and, finally, the profound comfort and redemption he finds with his wife.
Many poems in the collection proceed by juxtaposition, as in “Trip Wire Dream.”
the night fell like snow that had been falling all day
a peach pit as wet and red as the cancer they’ve removed
the tyrant untethered from his broken clean-shaven neck
Even this short excerpt moves from universal, to personal, to political, (the reference, I presume, is to the capture of Bin Laden), all of which are juxtaposed in Marchant’s work. His is a poetry of presence and incorporation: what happens in the world and what happens in the body are one.