Mystery, wisdom and complication, Gregory O’Brien

The Lives of Coat Hangers
Sudesh Mishra
University of Otago Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781927322376

“A thing is a hole in a thing it is not.” I was reminded of American sculptor Carl Andre’s words, as I read Sudesh Mishra’s remarkable new collection, a book which focuses very much on objects and the (objectified) space around them. Like Andre’s sculptures, Mishra’s poetry is cerebral, yet based very much upon “the thing”, observed or felt. Units of reality are piled up or laid on the ground – in his case, a scarecrow, a fan, an ant, a slamming door, a leaf, a rose and, memorably, as the title suggests, a wardrobe full of coat hangers.

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