Po-Chop: Eleni Sikelianos: Experiments with Minutes

“a piece of radish spit into the sink with the toothpaste, its purple shred & white / flesh rattle around the mind, a bit of life”


These lines appear in the long sequence, “Experiments with Minutes,” from Eleni Sikelianos’ sixth book, Body Clock (Coffee House Press 2008). The lines radiate from the page because of their sound and existential insight. The assonance of the ĭ sound in “radish,” “spit,” “into, “sink,” “its,” and “bit” channels other masters of assonance such as Lorine Niedecker, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Kay Ryan. With each repetition of the ī, Sikelianos reels the reader in. I found myself speaking aloud these two lines, finding joy in the shift in sound from the ĭ to the ī in “white,” “mind,” and “life.” Then of course the slant end rhyme of “white” and “life” zips up this sonic delight.


One enjoys standing at the sink with Sikelianos. Noticing, perhaps beauty, perhaps decay.

More Sikelianos:

Buy Body Clock from Coffee House Press

Sikelianos at PennSound

Read an interview with Sikelianos by Megan K. Fernandes


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