Planetary Noise – Selected Poetry of Erín Moure


This collection of poetry came to me by way of ModPo. Anna sent it to me after I was the first caller in during a webcast sometime last year. This collection has got me interested in Moure and I hope to read more. Moure and more is extra fun since she uses so much word play and explains much of her process in this collection.

The introduction provides insight into her life with languages– Moure uses various languages in her poetry throughout the collection. French, Spanish, Polish, Ukranian, Galician all come to mind. Translation is a significant part of Moure’s process. Of translation she says, “Translations emit. They pull us in and push at us at once. Emit that curious word: it’s time spelled backward. Translation makes time go backward. What other act can do this?”

Moure applies science throughout her poetry, which is delightful and gives me lots of inspiration for my own writing. Moure is a brave poet who has no problem diving into scientific literature about circadian rhythm in the middle of her poem! She also takes on the theme of migration in her writing, another parallel to my own art that gave me a feeling of solidarity.

I hadn’t read Moure before and if I had to come up with a comparison, I might say she is a more accessible and verbose Rae Armantrout — the length of her poems helped me find meaning more easily; whereas, R.A. can be very brief on the page– hope that makes some kind of sense!

The end of the book is a brief essay from Moure and the last lines stuck with me:

“Poetry. It’s summed up for me in the prolonged and careful listening that is reading: for when we read, time distends in the mouth in evening light, and time itself stops and goes backwards. Making our lives longer and more full. If we are lucky.”

Happy Winter Reading, friends!

6 comments on “Planetary Noise – Selected Poetry of Erín Moure”

  1. bokali, oh, you had me at emit/time. Wow. I remember being stunned by Moure in ModPo when the Canadians were added. Your review absolutely makes me want to go find this book. Those last lines you quote are captivating, inspiring. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is certainly a planetary body of work I will continue to reflect upon and feel honored to have Anna select this to send me– it is very apropos! In thinking about her writing about translation and reading her translations of many poems from many poets in this collection, I realized that reading anything– even in our mother tongue — is translation since our mind is interpreting the language. I am sure she makes this point much more eloquently. I encourage you to check her work out– I think it would resonate with you for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, yes, and yes again, borkali! FYI, my bio, when I have had to write one for publication, reads something like –

        Julie lives and writes in the high desert of central Oregon. She feels that writing poetry is an act of translation.

        Liked by 2 people

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