Tuesday, August 10, 2021

A Juror Must Fold in on Herself

Wow, this chapbook, A Juror Must Fold in on Herself, by Kathleen McClung, a Rattle Chapbook Prize winner, was a wonderful surprise and a real tour de force of form! It's got the suspense of a courtroom drama and the necessary silence and discretion of being on a jury, along with villanelles, a pantoum, a ghazal, a sestina, a rondeau, a cento, a double sonnet, and a sonnet crown! Maybe more, my head is crammed. I don't think she wrote these in court, as we learn that the steno pads jurors take notes on get destroyed, shredded, maybe "wire and all." The story of what happened, condensed, not fully told, is heartbreaking. I'll let you find the verdict. I found the coincidence that makes this a Random Coinciday in the blog--that I'm reading in August about a jury sequestered during "those August days." Anyone, even a father, might get arrested, pay a fine. Anyone, even a grandmother, might spend her days at a courthouse, typing. And in this chapbook, they do! I love how everything ties together. How, in the poem "Summons,"

                  ...I seek peace,
     a juror sworn to silence on this case,
     this endless trial--victims and police
     and video, an endless loop of loss
     we twelve appraise alone. Grave calculus.

McClung's choice of repeating forms, tightly rhyming forms, connected stanzas is just perfect for her content.

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