in the Winter/Spring 2009 issue of Terrain - A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments
Regardless of the elemental source—Lit Windowpane is full of earth and air and water—each poem settles over us like a fine dew—not suffocating, but synaptic and oddly comforting.
Yet as we revisit the poems, we come to realize that much of their allure lies also in how they converse with each other and the larger body of poetry. Some are direct responses: “The Mermaid Takes Issue with the Fable,” Frischkorn notes, was written in response to Pablo Neruda’s “The Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks.”
But many respond based simply on their placement next to other poems. The first dozen or so work almost as diptychs, the poem on the left triggering the poem on the right, or vice versa. Often the poems’ titles clue the relationship—“Youth Drowns in Housatonic River” flows across from “Naugatuck River Valley, Connecticut” while “Watermark” counters “Freshwater Notecards”—but in each case the verse truly completes the connection.
“I am the river and the river / is contaminated,” Frischkorn writes in “Youth Drowns…,” while “Naugatuck River Valley….” begins “How long it takes the river to come clean.”
The approach is subtle yet playful, and sets the tone for the parallels of light and dark found throughout the book, parallels reflected in the book’s title as well as the window and windowpane references throughout.