Much of Christensen’s linguistic virtuosity

puts one in mind of the phenomenon known as reduplication, a morphological process in certain languages (such as Turkish, Indonesian, Somali, Greek, Nez Percé—but excluding English and Danish) which copies all or part of the base to which it applies, in order to mark a grammatical or semantic contrast. Whether full or partial, reduplication can serve to intensify an adjective, place a verb into the future or the past, pluralize a noun or scatter its distribution, render an action continuous, or simply imply repetition. Moreover, Christensen makes skillful use of compound noun constructions in a way that is not only pleasurable, perhaps onomatopoeic, but also hints at the strange marriages of earth and air, water and fire, that define the world by seeming to defy it: „knotgrass“ and „sweetgrass,“ „icelocked“ and „iceplant,“ „fireweed and mugwort,“ „brickworks,“ „stoneskies,“ „groundwater,“ „greylight,“ „morningpale“ and „summerwarm.“ Occasionally Christensen veers from verbal and visual acuity and lapses into preciosity or précis: „I write like winter,“ she states at the end of 13, „write like snow / and ice and cold / darkness death / write.“ But overall, her play with letters and numbers—units that assume signification only within a structured economy, by existing within a system—is seductive, how she uses them to reveal how „a drop of water falls // on a leaf on a branch on a tree / on an earth.“ In her authentic relationship to „earth as it is in heaven,“ Christensen can even imagine „a / door with no house standing wide open still“—and somehow she ushers us inside. / Andrew Zawacki, The Boston Review Feb/Mar 2002.

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