Hayden's Ferry Review


Book Review: The Nervous Filaments by David Dodd Lee

The Nervous Filaments, by David Dodd Lee.
Four Way Books, Tribeca, 2010.
Review by Debrah Lechner

Who needs Vermeer?

All that standing around in filtered light with no job.

A hundred days later

egg salad with pepper on white bread

These are the first lines of “Wildlife,” one of the poems in David Dodd Lee’s The Nervous Filaments. Who hasn’t known, or been, the individual described in these few spare lines? Lee’s view of personal relationships is not in any aspect sentimental, but it can be melancholy and tender, as in these lines from “Romantic.”

and the weather inside you

the graham crackers the blue jay flips and eats

after all that’s your head in the window

looking out

through rain
through snow

lonely lonely

One of the new jobs we have is dating

In the intelligence, wit, and urgent imagery that David Dodd Lee employs, there is a great deal of pure sensory impact to enjoy, but the portraiture and meditation on what human relationships mean, their transitory nature and permanent impact, is what stands out for me. Very few writers capture that moment where the ephemeral moment and the perpetual experience meet, and that packs a wallop of an emotional blow, however carefully the tone is kept objective, even removed and wry. Perhaps it’s all the more powerful for that. Again, from “Romantic:”

driving with Kim

the way the flakes dimpled
the surface of the cups of our hot chocolate

they shredded the moon again she said about the falling snow

David Dodd Lee is the author of six books of poetry, and is also a fiction writer. He is the publisher of Half Moon Bay chapbooks. Many of his poems can be found online, and your copy of The Nervous Filaments can be found on Amazon here, as well as with other vendors.