Review of Caleb Curtiss’ “A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us”

A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us

(Review published in Rain Taxi, spring 2016)

“Even now, I know I could use this moment, / / this dying thing to remember her with, / but I don’t want to.” Thus, triggered by a dead bird, Caleb Curtiss in A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us resists (yet retains) the memory of his sister’s death from a rural car accident. Throughout the chapbook, tension surfaces between presence/memory and absence/forgetting. “Self-Portrait without My Dead Sister,” for instance, ironically remembers his sister’s absence; in several poems, a left parenthesis without a matching right interrupts a strain of thought, which seems soon forgotten with each successive strain becoming a strand of memory both uncontained and unending:

(a presence that will burn

(long after it’s passed

The poems weave details and…