The last time I was able to attend the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop at Hindman in the summer of 2015, I came home with a righteous stack of participant and instructor books. Around my drumming, performing and writing schedule, I’ve been gradually reading my way through the stack. Today, with morning coffee, I enjoyed the intriguing full-length poetry collection by Sabne Raznik entitled Linger to Look. I’m sorry it took me so long to get to this unusual, yet cohesive collection.
The over-arching themes of Linger to Look seem to be desire, belonging, transformation, and loss. Many of the poems are spoken in the voice of a woman who longs to dance and break free from the bonds that tether her to dusty reality. Horse, bird, water, and stone images abound. Musical use of language led me to finally read many of the poems aloud to myself to further experience the poet’s skill with sound.
Interspersed throughout the collection are the poet’s sketches of belly dancers and expressionistic photographs by Jan McCullough. These interludes of visual art weave the thematic threads of poignant lyric and narrative poems to the more experimental collage pieces like “possible: raha,” a 9-page romp into the abstract.
I was set to work looking up many of the poet’s allusions to belly dancing, quotes in Hebrew and Aramaic, and references to middle eastern culture. While these brief forays into research did not affect my overall understanding of the poems, I would have appreciated a few footnotes on the more obscure references to musicians who play belly dancing music. But then, I might have missed listening to some of that fine music on youtube.
Linger to Look, published in 2015, by Sabne Raznik is a dance of musical language and metaphysical imagery, swirling in experimentation and shimmering in the jingling of human heart.