The bright red horse—and the blue—
In The bright red horse—and the blue— Katy Lederer invites us to an intimate encounter with the lyric, to “enter it/ Directly—” and to “work it out/ Our own way—.” And though spare of image, it’s its rhythm that strikes the visual cortex. I’d like to read this book in a desert I’ve never been to.
Katy Lederer’s The bright red horse—and the blue— is a book about pushing, to speak and to breathe and to feel, in the face of a longed-for listener’s refusal. “We begin—with—/ With a person—,” these vivid, stuttering poems insist, formulating passages of extraordinary expressivity that seem puffed, hotly, as against a glass. Unpublished for more than two decades, this collection brings us to an exact lived moment, a time at which the fearful symmetry of words is tirelessly and forthrightly framed by a young writer.
Although the poems in The bright red horse—and the blue— were initially composed over twenty years ago, it is difficult not to read the series as a response to the present moment—and I do think poems and books sometimes wait to meet the moment in response to which they were composed—in which the United States has fractured and continues to fracture. That fracturing, in part, begins with and in language—it begins with and in response to language that has retreated so far from verifiable content as to be outside direct and even comprehensibly indirect communication. The bright red horse—and the blue— documents, among other things, language re-discovering and re-constituting itself, and as a result, the poems are fresh in a way few poems are—they make new ways, themselves, with and in the reader’s understanding, new channels for communication, and thus, much as a switch completes a circuit, they make whole.