SAY SO: Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011
The poems in Say So are at once rigorously formal and wildly experimental. Human utterance—be it prayer or plea or pun or turn of phrase or epithet—is one of Say So's primary pistons; poetic tradition—rhyme, meter, form, rhetoric—is another; the beauty and betrayals of the body, or bodies—echoed in the beauty and betrayal of language itself—is a third. Together, these forces provide the pressure that makes Say So move and brings these poems to life.
About Say So:
“The two-faced (at minimum) essence of language is Dora Malech’s inherited problem, and her opportunity: nothing is just what it says, and everything says much more than it knows. I hope you like dirt because that’s what you’re getting, she warns, or promises. Malech is ferociously alert to the unconscious absurdity and desire in idiomatic speech, its mortifying blend of self-effacement and self-betrayal. The closer one stares at the dizzying, ultra-fluent surfaces of these poems, the more their grave ambiguities emerge.”
-- Mark Levine, author of Travels with Marco
“Say So flaunts the powers inherent in the duplicities of language, words as reactants in shifting contexts and punning-under-pressure, yet it settles for no easy, cool ironies, no detached assumptions of transgression; in fact, it achieves what can only be called white-hot sincerity and committed truthfulness. This is writing of astonishing prosodical dexterity and lexical wiles. What strikes me as most courageous is that even as Dora Malech’s poetry confronts social, political and personal despair and wreckage, it never sacrifices innovative fire, will not be made mute or abjure the glorious means of poetry.”
-- Dean Young, author of Solar Perplexus