Published in Overland Issue Print Issue 199 Winter 2010 Main Posts / Reviews Views of the Hudson Pam Brown Angela Gardner Shearsman Books ISBN 9781848610804, $15.55 This collection’s sixty poems are subtitled ‘psalms’ and each is numbered. There’s something immediately Scorsese-esque about the subtitle ‘A New York Book of Psalms’ but Angela Gardner’s New York experience is too coolly considered for that association. As her subtitle implies, New York evokes a religiosity: ‘I see moonlight as the promised land.’ The collection starts on the plane trip and records the poet’s discovery of the place and its culture. The ‘Views’ of the title suggests a detachment: Gardner is not inhabiting the place but rather looking at it, and this sometimes renders the poems vague or impressionistic. She plays with signs without displaying feeling or overloading them with meaning or irony. Occasionally, there is a lament against materialism and its urban problems, but Gardner’s psalms offer no way forward. Helplessly, the homeless or vagabonds become ‘stylised’ – ‘while those left behind huddle in makeshift tents/(that laconic shelter left by incidental action)/He leans in the doorway almost stylised/a full length photorealist portrait’. There is one startling instance of a raised voice when the narrator’s ‘shoes pinch at these new streets/and another day’s high tide/of litter hits the sidewalks’. The pilgrim declares ‘Emptiness, fullness what’s the difference?/Fuck beauty!’ yet, unable to sustain her anger, she collapses – ‘tears stream down my face’ – at the end of the poem. Competent, confident, calm – these poems are not representations. Like the cover image, they comprise indistinct surfaces/textures, aesthetic shapes. This suite is minimal and exacting. It’s art-poetry, a sustained ‘looking at’ the views, like a film shot from a window. Pam Brown Pam Brown has published many chapbooks, pamphlets and full collections of poetry, most recently Stasis Shuffle (Hunter Publishers, 2021). She lives in a south Sydney suburb on reclaimed swampland on Gadigal Country. More by Pam Brown Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays 6 First published in Overland Issue 228 1 February 20233 February 2023 Reviews This is where the rat bastard poem comes in Dan Hogan Rats will be found wherever nonsense presented as sense becomes the authority. Such is the cornerstone of anything organised along lines of capital: bureaucracies, workplace hierarchies, real estate, aspiration culture, institutions, ruling class artifice, governments, etcetera. Wherever there is capital there are rats—hoarding creatures, capital’s henchmen. 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 14 December 202225 January 2023 Poetry The moral risk of taking things too seriously: on Gareth Morgan’s When A Punk Becomes A Spunk Elese Dowden In his review of Lucy Van’s The Open, Gareth Morgan writes that Van writes 'against the impulse to ponder dutifully about the sins of the past and present.' This fucked me up for some time. What is it to ponder dutifully? But perhaps more importantly, how do we ponder in a way that's more … metal?