Poetry Review — Lances All Alike

I believe that when we read and write, we
bring with us the imprint of everything that has ever
moved us, thus we do so always as a collaboration.

Suzanne Zelazo

Lances All Alike by Suzanne Zelazo is a collection of modern poetry. Zelazo is a writer, editor, educator, and publisher in the visual and literary arts, as well as in sport. She holds a Ph.D. in English with a specialty in female modernism and avant-garde poetry and performance.

Zelazo borrows for her creation. Each section is prefaced with a quote and the poems that follow in some manner reflect that quote back to the reader. I was a bit confused at the start (The notes and explanation are at the end of the book) but I caught on by the second section. The first section all I could think of was Gertrude Stein, and in my thoughts of Stein, the next poem I read was titled “Tiny Buttons:”

Crushed moon
sinuous consciousness
congealed fantasia

This excerpt will give the reader an idea of what the poetry is like throughout the collection. It is very much in the modernist style. In fact, all the reference quotes also are from modernists. Section two starts with a quote from Ezra Pound to James Joyce and proceeds to have an Irish tone. The third section is titled “Sutured Portraits.” The final section contains a quote from Dewy Dell from the one Faulkner novel I have read As I Lay Dying. I was able to latch on to the poems and follow. Without known the novel, I would have been lost as I was in the first section.

The notes at the end do a great deal to explain the purpose of this collection. Mina Loy and Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven were contemporaries that never met or collaborated although they had several common friends including Djuna Barnes who I have read and piqued my interest in this collection. The non-relationship between Loy and Freytag-Loringhoven is used to set the work in motion with an imagined conversation, in the modernist style. Unless the reader is familiar with and or an admirer of modernist poetry, this will be a difficult read. My limited knowledge, but a great appreciation of modernist writers and my limited ability to digest modernist poetry made this a challenging, but rewarding read. For myself, I was able to walk away a bit more knowledgeable and more motivated to dive back into modernist poetry.

 

Available April 24, 2018

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