The moon is cyclical in nature and Kit Frick has brought it to a new phase with Echo, Echo, Light. The winner of the 2nd Annual Slope Editions Chapbook Prize, Echo, Echo, Light is a series of twenty poems that interrogate language, exploration, space, and the self. Expansive in subject and carefully selected language, these poems are their own contained universes.
Each poem is titled for a lunar phase or terrain—the waxing gibbous moon, the terminator, and the lake of dreams, to name a few. The companion poems that orbit the chapbook’s main text define each poem’s subject in terms that are textbook and tongue-in-cheek, scientific and philosophical. A second-person point of view prevails throughout these poems. The mysterious “you” transforms just as the moon does—guide, lover, friend, self, or reader.
These poems are evidence of mystery and chaos ordered by language through prose poetry. The imperative sentences convey an urgency to explore, examine, observe, and act. The voice outlines clear instructions to survive these spells and landscapes in the midst of a distinctively dreamy feel that is consistently present through the series. For instance, in “Lake of Forgetfulness”:
Drive to the Kmart and wander the aisles. The
store seems different since you were last here.
Which was when. Orient yourself. Try. You must
develop patterns. Pick up a set of green dish
towels. It’s possible you could use these.”
And further along:
The residents wear mostly hoodies. That’s the
vernacular. Speak to no one. A young man in a green
hoodie. Asking something historical. Something
This voice is familiar with the lay of the land, its denizens. This voice has been here, it can teach us. The rapid cuts to new locations, objects, and faces lend to the dreamy and ethereal, but these flickers are also sharp. The short sentences and crisp images build a clarity that makes entering each poem satisfying and oddly familiar.
A live current of déjà vu also runs through these poems. We have been to these places. We have felt in love, felt lonely, felt lost (geographically and existentially). In this way, Echo, Echo, Light points to patterns, both astral and human. We go to these places again and feel these ways again because emotions are cyclical, human nature is cyclical. We are made entirely of patterns no less scientifically immune to change than the moon. Language also tends toward patterns and Kit Frick explores that music in tandem with the moon’s surface. These patterns and rhythms are reflected in the subjects and music we encounter in these poems.
The poem “Lake of Sorrow” instructs how to cope with an inability to float in this mysterious body of water, how to overcome sadness, grief, depression.
When a remedy is needed for unbuoyant, cherry
cordial is the salve. Some swear by fish oil. But.
How mundane. How fraught with pedestrian.
The repetition toward the end of the poem allude to a more realistic affirmation:
Find strips of discarded
celluloid. You must resist the urge to patch. Your
life is not a movie. Your life is not a movie.
Whether the landscapes we feel inside us or observe outside us, the moon-world Kit Frick has brought to light is challenging and compelling. Echo, Echo, Light revises the moon’s place in poetry, revitalizes the long admired image and entity. In their thorough explorations of the lunar condition these poems approach the human one. These may be instructions to survive lunar mysteries, but they allude to our own rhythms and phases that mirror the moon’s, the landscapes of the self that are vast and mysterious as space and far planets.
GINA KEICHER holds an MFA from Syracuse University. She is an Associate Editor for Black Lawrence Press. Her work has appeared in Barrelhouse for Dark Sky Magazine, DIAGRAM, H_NGM_N, ILK, Jellyfish, Ninth Letter, and Paper Darts. She lives with her husband in Ithaca, New York.