In Place of Me
This retrospective of Doreen Stock’s poetry features selections chosen and introduced by activist and poet Jack Hirschman. Although Hirschman notes Stock’s mastery of projective, or open, verse form in his introduction, he was, no doubt, also drawn to her breadth and depth of subject matter. She writes about brutal, senseless acts of violence with the same syllabic flow she writes about her time spent in Israel and the dance of romantic entanglements. Stock’s best poems intertwine the everyday with the cataclysmic, embodying the surrealist aspects of living well as a middle class American when so much is wrong in the world.
Stock handles language with an ease that allows her to move between prose form and traditional verse, each style lulling with a natural beat. As this type of open flow poetry focuses on the breath, Stock’s poems demand to be heard aloud as well as read to one’s self. This is most notable in poems such as ‘I Hesitate,’ which reads like a low drum beat and honors Fred Kirschner, survivor of Buchenwald concentration camp. Another notable poem is ‘Cho,’ as it contrasts Stock’s collision with a deer while driving at night on a mountain road with the Virginia Tech shooting, which unfolded on the news as her car was repaired. “I was society’s/mistake an engine in his/path thrown upon him as he/crashed against me,” she writes.
Not all the poems in the collection deal with such heavy subject matter. All are bright, brief illustrations unto themselves. Stock’s world is full of both injustices and noble men and women, loss and love of life, dedication and heartbreak.
Mine Gallery Editions