Oyster Boy Review 21  
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As We Are Sung by Christina Mengert

Gina Marie LoBianco

  As We Are Sung.
Christina Mengert.
Burning Deck Press, 2011.
64 pages, $14 (paperback).
ISBN: 1936194058 (Library of Congress).
Buy at Amazon.

Christina Mengert's first book is a love letter to a song. This book serves as a singular and circular philosophy for the spaces between music and poetry, orbiting the definition of each, while simultaneously carving open spaces for a voice to echo onto the page ending in "unrepeatable, unrepeatable." Mengert traces each poem with the craft and the expertise of the musical and the spontaneous, ever-changing string of sound leading from one "paper bird's regard" to "The Reincarnation of a Lovebird."

In this book, Mengert "set[s] sound to fire," and advises her reader to "Listen:" musing on the question "Who can hear the rest (only the rest)." While her beautiful and thoughtful use of the abundance of space on the page are equivocal to silence, it is a testimony only to her mastery of language which also allows her words the room to expand and contract, taking note of the music the reader experiences while reading the book by noticing that even "the page shudders."

This book attempts to bind two seemingly separate mediums of music and poetry by appealing first and foremost to the written word. Mengert invites us to step onto the other side of sound, allowing the ideas to penetrate us first, for we only gain the sound through the words written on the page. This book ingeniously accomplishes what many poets set out for, but few rarely grasp: a symphonic blending of onomatopoeia and instrumentation, a language that is musical from cover to cover.

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