Hayden's Ferry Review


Book Review: The Last 4 Things by Kate Greenstreet

The Last 4 Things by Kate Greenstreet, Ahsahta Press, Boise State University, 2009. Review by Deborah Lechner.

Kate Greenstreet’s poetry is, first of all, image-driven. Her background in photography informs her aesthetic in imagery, so as the picture develops, it builds at a steady pace, from the first words appearing on the page, which often announce the theme in tone, then in outline. Little by little details emerge that are in themselves memorable, until the whole of the idea is apparent and fixed.

Her wording is intimate, but conversational and factual, as though telling a story to a friend. In the first section of the book, The Last 4 Things, there is this:

The world was ending, and everybody knew.
We lined up to say goodbye.
I saw some people out on the bridges.
One guy said don’t worry─when it comes,
there’ll be nothing left.

Another gorgeous example of this technique is from the second section of the book, 56 Days where she writes, "The camera has two purposes: one is to help the person holding / it to see. The other, simply to draw light into itself."

This volume comes with a DVD containing two short films with audio voiceover from the author. The opportunity to see Greenstreet’s visual work and hear her poetry read in her own voice is a superb bonus.

Kate Greenstreet is the author of The Last 4 Things (Ahsahta Press, 2009) and case sensitive (Ahsahta, 2006). Her new chapbook, "but even now I am perhaps not speaking" will be out on Imprint Press this spring. Her previous chapbooks are This is why I hurt you (Lame House Press, 2008), Rushes (above/ground press, 2007), and Learning the Language (Etherdome Press, 2005). Statues, a Big Game Books tinyside, was available briefly in 2006. Her poetry can also be found in the anthologies 13 Younger Contemporary American Poets (Proem Press, 2010), The Harp & Altar Anthology (Ellipsis Press, 2010), Disco Prairie Social Aid and Pleasure Club (Factory Hollow Press, 2010), Letters to the World (Red Hen Press, 2008), The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - Second Floor (No Tell Books, 2007), and Diagram.2 (New Michigan Press, 2006). She has also published a great deal of visual, audio and printed work online. She received a Fellowship from the NJ State Council on the Arts in 2003

Check out Kate's website to learn more about her and her work. While you're there you can view a great sample clip from the video included with The Last 4 Things and listen to the author reading a number of her poems. You can also purchase The Last 4 Things for your personal library.
TremellBook Reviews, Poetry