The View They Arrange
Dale Going
Kelsey St. Press
Berkeley, CA
ISBN 0-932716-33-4
Available through Kelsey St. Press
79 p., 7.5 x 8

Formally inventive, movingly languaged ‘sightings/sitings. As though there’s a hope one could situate, identify, locate.’ The frames, themselves exquisitely wrought, through which Dale Going arranges for us to view the world––’like a garden, or a target’––include. Here are not just perceptions but emotions, interactions. With not an art form unregarded. ‘World/we. moving out from where we are/moving in from out there’––Going’s work is a profound delight.
Carol Snow

With this second full-length book Dale Going is already becoming a postmodern lodestar in the Bay Area because she backs her formal experimentation with heart, and shrewd observation and humorous sparkle…Her basic form in this book is the sequence poem, the slow accretion of meaning through reverberant fragments – and within that sequence form she works in many different moods, lineations, arrangements of words and typeface on the page. Probably the most formally ‘avant-garde’ – it’s hard for me to use that word without single quotes – is “Or Less,” a ten page poem arranged around a nine word matrix that appears ten times, first in ordinary type face, then with the progressive ‘blacklighting’ of one word at a time in bold, these nine matrices each accompanied with elliptical, suggestive small poems or fragments printed beneath them…a quote from another poem…”What had I written? A poem smaller, less luscious – /quieter is what I meant. A flowering in containment.”…gives me the feeling of this book in relation to her first, quieter, less luscious, a series of ‘arrangements’, deep touchings. it’s not until the last pages of the book that her own sickness and recovery bursts on the page, explodes…
Richard Silberg, Poetry Flash

Rave: Kelsey St. Press continues their tradition of publishing innovative collections of poetry by some of the country’s best and most interesting writers with Dale Going’s second work, The View They Arrange. Even the shape of the book experiments with the poetic…Going uses and occupies space in unique ways…[She] points the particularness of women…writing…the introspectiveness of our lives. For sure, Going is a learned poet – one whose work, however, seems rooted not only in the quest for forms that adequately complement the texture of her language, but also…in the feminine…It is rare that one comes across a book that once read demands to be read again and again. This is one of those times.
– Feminist Bookstore News

          Begin at the four corners of a house, table, page (eaves, leaves) and find the multiple points of entry in Dale Going's tangential leaps from formal construction to a place/page/play without walls. In this, her second book, Going's belief that language will carry us, as dancers revolve in the air and plunge headfirst, that it will reveal and in so doing, has the possibility to heal, reoccurs through the experimental frames of this collection. From a place profuse with roses, subterranean NY and hum of a Delta 88 (with its own constant shifts of view; one doesn't have this surname for nothing), Going views female interiority, like the work of Vermeer, giving a "freestanding view of the outside world." Her urgent hesitancy is reported in collages of inclusion (the men's tongues are jewels), a mosaic of word play and ear-play, that incorporates language read (Rakosi, Oppen, Guest, Stein, Broner, Cole et al) and overheard into her own as a means of getting one's bearings, a password, to bear laurels, make passage. It's not geographical/It is/It's something else, displacement as a sense of place locates Going's writing as American in the Dickinson and Stein tradition-and she clearly celebrates those links to her fore-mothers. Going enfolds the language of other contemporary poets (among these Fraser and Guest), dance critics, Catholicism and the Objectivists' Judaism into her articulations. Word definitions as tracings – a telescope fitting one inside the other – invokes the book in "Tessera/Sera.” Her ars poetica of collage and reference, "The marvelous moment when the women suddenly acquire bouquets and rush forward," gathers all the beautiful and odd as a direct challenge to what appears insignificant and without meaning – because at the center stands meaning and the poet. In Going's lexicon the poet is She – who has taken to heart Lydia Mariachild's watchword (in The Frugal Housewife): "The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments of time, as well as materials."
          "Or Less" – which first appeared as a letterpress volume when Going was learning to print – centers on nine words (in 25 words or less!) crucial to her aesthetic. In fact,
The View They Arrange was written almost entirely during the time Going was learning the trade and art of letterpress and establishing her own house, Em Press in Mill Valley, California. The lead weight of individual letters of type, the heft of a galley of set type, properties of papers and inks, and her hand turning the wheel of the press seem to influence this volume: how the rush of her words are weighted, chosen and played on the cream expanse of the page.
          Dale Going challenges the notion of ownership/possession, a
they who construct social value around what is seen, and the sites of language-making. Of this gendered, multi-voiced text/ure, Carol Snow notes this work as "profound delight." Like a tangent and a target, this lusciously wrought text is celebratory and deeply moving. Gratefully, I carry it with me – as a compass or a talisman wanting to see what (will] happen.
- Alfe Murray, Rooms, Vol 4., No.1, Spring 1997

These poems present a universe of possible meanings on which words appear. Sometimes the words are objects, sometimes fragments of news, history, literature – sometimes they link themselves in lines spoken by the human voice. Among these elements there is a sense of a lost syntax, hovering and at work. There is a steady voice in these poems; Going is a poet who has faith, not only in fragments, but in the surrounding silence.
Patricia Dienstfrey, Kelsey St. Press

Dale Going constructs her narratives like a honeycomb, leaving space for silence and hesitancy; she frequently interrupts, repeats, interrogates. Like an opera comprising many voices, her tone is at times wondering or grieving, and, t others, exultant…Observations and interactions, memories, bits of conversation, and notes from her reading are all assembled into an idiosyncratic collage. Her samplings are varied and interesting: Going translates the elastic language of dancers rushing forward and apart, meditates on the feminist implications of the art of keeping a journal, and re-experiences the strange confluence of her own chemotherapy treatment with the nuclear accident at Chernnobyl. The vastness, beauty, and disorder of the world are circumscribed in her work – not made smaller, but more intimate.
– Denise Liddell Lawson, Kelsey St. Press

     Tessera, Sera
     All the Flourishes in the World
     The Marvelous Moment When the Women Suddenly Acquire Bouquets and Rush Forward
     The Sorrowful Mysteries
     Or Less
     The View They Arrange
     Services for the Little Hours

Cover photograph: “Chairs, Yosemite,” © 1975 Linda Connor
Book design: Lory Poulson. Typefaces: Berkeley Book, Futura Light Condensed.
Paper: Mohawk Softwhite. Printed by West Coast Print Center, Berkeley.