The poems of Pigment and Fume explore, scavenge, celebrate, and interrogate—by hook and crook, riff and raff, physics and ekphrastics, instinct and ecstasy—the natural world and the nature of our relationships. If ecology is the study of the planetary household, Pigment and Fume studies literal and metaphorical houses poem by poem and builds them toward a larger, ever-entangling whole.
Bristling both with linguistic and psychic energy, weighed down by the detritus of the daily, there’s nothing personal about these very personal poems: the radiating I/eye is bathed in landscape, but the environment’s never reduced to nature as the Emersonian familiar. Everywhere dense, intelligent qualification, everywhere music and rangy diction charged with the overloaded agitation that defines our time.
Perhaps the best word to describe these extraordinary poems is “entanglement.” Entanglement of the veins of knowledge— science, religion, art. Entanglement of relationships—human, animal, plant. Entanglement of imagery—the environment in many of its natural and artificial permutations. Of strains of music in the language, of darkness and light, mystery and clarity.
Street is an accomplished poet in terms of technique, moving fluidly between lyrical, disjunctive and found forms of language and dipping into a wide palette of formal and experimental poetic techniques. She covers the full push-and-pull range of our relationship to the environment around us with a clear-seeing, uncompromising eye and flashes of wit.