By Jocelyn Saidenberg
CUSP by Jocelyn Saidenberg is the second winner of the Frances Jaffer Book Award. The subjects of Saidenberg's four extended prose poems are the innocent victims in wars of occupation: women, the "street dwellers," the working poor. She evaluates the radical dynamics of political revolutions with an eye to corrupting forces that can twist utopian agendas: "we resorted to walking again resemblances of an armory of thoughts. ill thoughts. a false bottom. armory of weapons. ill weapons . . . "
Judgements slip through consciousness at high speeds; moral systems are porous; and the poems' lines are thickly punctuated and fragmented. Underlying Saidenberg's broken surfaces, a balancing mind meditates on justice and mercy, responsibility and freedom. The complexity of these pieces is written into a haunting music: "else she can never twice born twice bloodied born bloodied;" "caveway caveway wayward home."
Barbara Guest writes: "CUSP is a poem of exceptional sensibility and ardor."Read Jocelyn Saidenberg's bio.