Claudia Rankine described the poems in Alsadir’s first book as ‘lawless,’ ‘provocative, and ‘heart-breaking’ as they converse from the inside out… come alive in the back and forth of a mind attempting to understand what it means to be in relation to. ’Fourth Person Singular’ continues to blow open the relationship between self and world in a working through of lyric shame, bending poetic form through fragment, lyric essay, aphorisms mined from the unconscious, and pop-up associations, to explore the complexities, congruities, disturbances – as well as the beauty – involved in self-representation in language. As unexpected as it is bold, Alsadir’s ambitious tour de force demands we pay new attention to the current conversation about the nature of lyric – and human relationships – in the 21st century.
She talks to psychoanalyst and writer Josh Cohen about poetry, dreams, shame and related topics.
Praise for Fourth Person Singular:
‘To read ‘Fourth Person Singular’ is to fall in love – that’s all I can say to capture the experience of being so scarily and exhilaratingly close to someone else’s thoughts on every vital page. Alsadir’s work is, as ever, full of astute observations and insights driven by a deep intellect, alive to the world and our fears, pressures, dreams and ideas. But there’s something greater here too: a unity of form and content, process and delivery which transfigures the conceptual and the lyric. I don’t remember the last time I’ve read something which is at once so alive and so vigorously smart and ambitious; uniquely self-aware, caustically funny whilst constantly generous and compassionate. The rare joy of a writer finding the exact form for their voice and their mission. Essential reading.’
‘Fourth Person Singular’ is poetry that is neither verse nor exactly prose poetry, but aphorism, perception, quotation, annotation, a squeezing between the gaps in the windows and doorways of experience seeking for air. It is more than its pieces: it is a whole that is a form of understanding. It is that whole that is the complex and revelatory poem.’