Sarah Anne Cox


Yedda Morrison
Kelsey St. Press, 2003


We try to get through life by trying not to uncover the icky under belly of us — our beings and transactions.  When it shows itself it is unseemly, nauseating or even an overstatement of fact meant to manipulate us in some way.   Yedda Morrison’s book Crop has managed somehow to echew any emotional manipulation and present the world, present being in all its shady desperation and compromise, with attention paid to how we really live and what sort of self we must construct in order to survive, or in order to receive a paycheck.  I am mystified by the simple gravity of this work. The tenor of these poems is grueling and uncompromising, refusing the sentimentality of even one word.  “Nostalgia blubbering at the freshly plucked trees…”

All pleasantries are undressed.  There is no escape for the white dinner jacket or the silk brocade.  It is hard to even imagine anything pretty or fine at all.  Which is not to say that there is no charm in these pages.  The book is spell binding in its relentless presentation of creation: eggs or Dolly the sheep, fruit or people.  Creation is made creation is marketed.  And the relationship between choice and action is remarkable.  It’s not as though she’s saying, “ha ha we are fools we don’t choose anything.” On the contrary, there is simply no room for this make-yourself-who-you-are concept in this roller coaster of a work.  This out of control feeling in the pieces stems I think from Morrison’s use of repetition of phrase and form in dizzying twists. And then there are the tropes like “bloodied pee hole” and the “nippled floor” which I cannot get out of my head.

In the end it is terribly sad.  It is sad not for one but all, a universal horror of product, production and what we have become or have always been.  And there is compassion here: the work is invested in its discourse, the work is a part of its discourse. It owns the undergarment worn.


Sarah Anne Cox is the author of two chapbooks, Home of Grammar (Double Lucy 1997) and definite articles (a+bend 1999) and a book, Arrival (Krupsaya 2002). She lives in San Francisco where she writes, teaches, windsurfs, and cares for her two little ones.

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