See Through is an obsessive, glittering, ingenious series of investigations: of containment and permeability, comprehension and comprehensiveness, loss and absence. The soral qualities of Richard s language are both discordant and smooth, clotted and adamant and fast and lovely. Her poems rocket as thought rockets, both toward and away from sources of anguish and of relief. Mirage or frieze/ of quell and thrill collide, Richard writes, her poet-speaker taking on the forcible can t-t-imagine goad that a haunted daughter, bereaved by her mother s suicide, must constantly face or evade. In See Through, we inhabit spaces whose frames dissolve; we move between worlds, wondering what membrane divides the one from the other. Richard vigorously, sometimes riotously, follows thought, the thrown conjecture. The poems take memory and autobiography as a starting point, but they end with physical, energetic states as their core subject: Urge further it, she insists. Soothe, you flare. These stunning poems show us that in the face of loss, it is things that breathe. Fragments of memory move through the details of objects to haunt language. Then the haunting is our carriage, taking us beyond narrative even as it shatters. See Through is an exquisite achievement. --Claudia Rankine
FRANCES RICHARD is an educator and critic who has taught at Barnard College, New York University, and The New School for Social Research. Her poetry has been awarded the 1999 Marlboro Review Prize, chosen by Brenda Hillman; a grant from the Barbara Deming/Money for Women Fund; and a grant from the Greenwall Fund of the Academy of American Poets. Richard was born in 1967; she received her BA from Oberlin College and her MFA from New York University. She is nonfiction editor of the literary journal Fence, an editor of the art and culture journal Cabinet, and a frequent contributor to Artforum. She lives in Brooklyn.