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The Laundromat Essay

The Laundromat Essay

By Kyle Buckley
Categories: Poetry
Paperback : 9781552452066, 80 pages, October 2008
Read Excerpt (PDF)

A difference between us bridged my fondness for a street that ran through the kitchen. It was evenly lined with the trees that line those kinds of streets. That autumn we had to gather the leaves from the floor. They fell when you quietly pulled down the shelves from inside the cabinets.

‘I know the owner of the laundromat,’ reflects the narrator of this extended poem, ‘but can’t remember his name, which could be for many reasons.’ The laundromat is across the street from his apartment. The narrator, also nameless, is looking at it through his window but can't seem to get there to pick up all his clothes. The narrator then detours as he tries to navigate a city that is fracturing around him at the same time as he confronts the failure of poetry and memory inside the labyrinthine architecture of language

'This book is like a blindfolded staircase,' the narrator says. Poetry here is misused, a failed image. Written as a narrative essay that continuously dissects a never-finished conversation, and annotated with the fragments of poems that were maybe never written about a childhood that maybe never took place, The Laundromat Essay is a spiralling poem about the pathology of failure and of forgetting, a poetic narrative of credible absurdity.

In this debut, Buckley initiates and sustains a dialogue between language, experience and oblivion that departs incessantly into an autumnal landscape full of melancholy and metaphor.

'Kyle Buckley's debut book ends up as playful as it is intellectually stringent … [his] asides about poetry's structural contradictions are made much more palpable bye the fact that his poems are so damn good, even when they're presented as mere footnoes.'

Eye Weekly