I was a little distracted by the title when first opening this. It suggested the scenes at Lake Silencio for this fan of the BBC series “Doctor Who”. But, of course, Anna Moschovakis had nothing of the sort in mind when she penned her second poetry collection “You And Three Others Are Approaching A Lake.” What did she have in mind? I’m not sure. The lake does have some metaphorical significance, but I couldn’t sniff it out with certainty. What is clear is that this is poetry with a mission.
Moschovakis employs lines that are aurally as far from poetry as one can get. They are often almost dry statements which seem to be clipped from various news broadcasts and stitched together. This is not to suggest that this is not poetry, however. This is poetry in the sense of its not-showing-all-the-cards aspect. The careful choosing of her prosaic lines leaves a great deal unsaid, inferred, and the pregnant pauses are uncomfortable ones.
Moschovakis attacks everything Western culture is and she attacks it violently. From over-comsumption and waste to commercialism and materialism to what passes for recreation to the new lows that technology has allowed mankind to reach, she places the whole of Western vice before the reader and forces one to look long and hard at it. Not only does she bloody the culture itself but she also points out exactly what its effect on the human psyche has been. Humans are in the background of this collection and so are human emotions. In fact, those emotions society might consider as virtuous in a human being- desire, humor- are addressed only through the viewpoint of a “Human Machine” and “Annabot”. Violence to the planet and its others species is a recurring theme. This is industrialized and technologicalized poetry. It is hard, unflinching, and it wounds.
The oddest thing about the four long poems that make up this book is that they do not feel political at all. One’s logic says they are, that they must be and fiercely so. But they do not feel it. They do not read it. Somehow, despite extremely dark and heavy material, Moschovakis manages to maintain an intimacy that precludes an obvious political rant.
What Anna Moschovakis has achieved with this work is to rudely awaken her readers to a reality that is very uncomfortable to admit and nearly impossible to come to terms with. It is a reality so condemning that it is easier to forget it, ignore it, or remain in ignorance of it than to address it. Bravo to Moschovakis’ bravery in not only making her readers consider it, but also in being willing to face it herself.