Books

the discovery

Poetry written in the rhythms of everyday life

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After you read Matthew Welton’s most recent collection, “The Number Poems’’ (Carcanet), the rhythm of the pieces pulses in your steps. It’s because of cadences like this: “how it is the static unemphatic fit/ of word and sound and sound and thought and thought and word/ says more about the language than the language could.” His subjects embrace simple things: kitchens, coffee, what’s said, what’s heard, what’s meant. A deceptive simplicity marks lines like these: “Our shadows/ ride home on/ the shadows of our bikes.” In a section called “Melodies for the Meanwhile,” patterns, phrases, and images repeat over a number of poems. Three, for instance, have lines that begin “The mornings the haze makes’’ and end with: “our movements feel unmappable,’’ “our memories feel inflexible,’’ “our intentions feel intractable.’’ The effect is reminiscent of our passing days: each much the same, with variations that sometimes have the power to alter everything.

NINA MACLAUGHLIN