Reviews

Reviews

The Shadowless Gravedigger: On Victoria Chang’s “Obit”

BY Erin Redfern

The prose poems and tankas in Victoria Chang’s Obit are less traditional elegies than a series of verbal proofs through which Chang investigates those aspects of experience––grief, pain, love––that seem beyond our capacity to represent them. “Language fails us” more than once in this collection (it gets three obituaries of its own), and yet words are what the speaker of these poems must use both “to calculate my grief” and to convey it. These poems’ generous, meticulous record of grieving is inseparable from Chang’s retooling of poetic form and language.