Mason Debuts Second Poetry Collection with “Dissolve”

By Greg Bem

And serious thought comes
to capture us with so much
halting collapse.

Stained

Holaday Mason is a poet of California and beyond, her work stretching into the desert, the forest, and deep within the unconscious dreaming mind. She is not new to poetry. Finalist of the 2005 Autumn House Press Prize and semi-finalist for both the Backwater Press and the Tupelo Press awards, Dissolve is her second full-length book. It is a startling and quiet assortment of verse bent on describing loss and flight from as many different angles as possible. Despite the bleak, fatalistic glare that dulls outward from the poems, Mason’s messages remain static and approachable enough to support the success of the book as a whole.

Evenly divided into four spliced, crisp chunks, Dissolve is more importantly founded within the individual poems. As reflections of the box-plot book-sized arc, each poem relies upon the management of the belief in the poetic voice. The narrator is one who is so esteemed in beauty as escape that the only answers to the personal trials faced come in the form of level corners and identifiable ground. But at what cost? Within the pages there is a classic melancholy at work. Amidst the memory and the holistic bedazzlement, the learned enlightenment, we have the darker shades of living, presence, and removal:

He called from the Petrified
Forest, then for his mother, in his sleep.
He hasn’t called and won’t again—no need
really, he’s reached the trees.

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