Review: ‘Blueprint’ by Iulia David

blueprint

Blueprint is a short poetry collection that slams ordered storytelling into the disjointed immediacy of the moment. The result is a panting procession of words through a mouth that both shapes and swallows them before releasing.

David achieves this by handling imagery like a “street shuffling faces like cards.” Consequently, there’s “a sliding of limbs into limbo,” a blending of visions, of breaths, of the staticky present. With a profound understanding of both structure and distortion, the poet engages repetition to stimulate the symbiosis of form and feeling.

This allows each poem to achieve a distinctly raw feel, mirroring the soothing, captivating shimmer of running water.

In many ways, the work’s immediacy proves distracting; more so for the speaker than the reader. With diversions sliding onto every verse, often only the first and last lines can contain the chaos of the poems’ insides. This lack of predictability is, naturally, thrilling.

Once on the page, emotions become bodied; so much so that they strive to loosen their confines by clinging to the lip. In The Tender Blow of the Wind Machine, the marriage of words with sensation appears to drive these fragile entities to the brink of delirium. In fact, the ferocity of the inarticulate proves stifling,

“Say goodbye in the fighting voices heard through a bedroom wall \bark it \ (…) goodbye yourself round until piss is the only warmth left inside you (…).”

Admirably, this animality is never restricted to a single poem. The collection as a whole feels incredibly haunting, and it’s because of this evocation that David’s writing exemplifies the wit, clarity, and soundscapes of the best contemporary poets.

Like them, she cajoles language with imagery, letting it wrap itself around emotion to create tidy packages of sense for the reader to dismantle, “I remember well how hungrily the sun refused to set.”

And the abandon with which David handles meaning in Blueprint — perceived or otherwise — is startling; intoxicating, even, “There’s a piece of meat that fell out of my mother and that is me (…).” So much so that you have to pace yourself, and continually struggle to do so.

This teasing quality also plays into David’s reconstruction of the nature of expectation. By writing “last night I dreamed I had to fit into the word boat to get to the other side,” David bares the capacity of language to both shape and unravel reality. Thus, the physical and the metaphysical converge.

Throughout Blueprint, drops of wistfulness splatter the text, harmonizing the blue hues before us, “Her body is a cemetery, but she uses it as a playground,” “this room littered by this mind of mine.”

And as the sentiments begin to blend like paint, we find ourselves pursuing the ideal that’s fleeing its conclusion, “I was praying for my — I was praying that my — I was praying that I didn’t — .”


Publication date: September 1, 2022 (Green Bottle Press)

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