Consider the Oyster (Paperback)

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In 1941, MFK Fisher published Consider the Oyster; O, how the world and its ecology have changed since then Blanche Brown continues the celebration of the tasty bivalve within the context of a bulldozing, dam-building, oil-spilling world. The poem researches the animal through etymology, history, the news, and personal anecdote. But best of all we come to know it by feeling it thick on our tongue. Consider the Oyster is a delectable linguistic feast. --Jena Osman

In Blanche Brown's Consider the Oyster, a slimy mollusk becomes the occasion for a rigorous and sensual meditation on humans' toxic enmeshment with the earth's waters. The oyster is a departure point for thinking the natural world, which thinks in ways we cannot know, "consider the oyster / does not consider you." Brown luxuriates in delicious abstract linguistic play, "whose final shape is so mutant, geometry's language misplaces" and collects materials for her documentary poem with the eye of an archivist, describing paintings with care, narrating memories with delicacy, matter-of-factly analyzing environmental reports. These disparate materials are all netted in Brown's luminous mournful swamp-faring ode. --Laura Jaramillo

The way Hermes turned a turtle's shell into a lyre, Blanche Brown plies the oyster's "home bone" with strings and makes music out of our paradoxical capacity to love and respect creatures we eat. Equal parts ode, natural history, documentary, cultural history, autobiography, love song to the Apalachicola Bay watershed, and ALL poetry, Consider the Oyster honors most of all the bivalve's literal embeddedness in its habitat. With formal virtuosity, sensual attention, and considerable wit, Brown writes of the anthropogenic challenges all species face--pollution, habitat loss, climate change--and also of those specific to Apalach oysters--Corexit dispersant, the Tri-State Water Wars, ocean acidification. Ultimately, this poem is a plea for us to "consider the flexible / inflexible body of the oyster," helplessly open to the world it feeds upon and that, in turn, feeds upon it. --Brian Teare

Product Details
ISBN: 9781934832769
ISBN-10: 1934832766
Publisher: New Michigan Press
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2020
Pages: 64
Language: English