Information Desk: An Epic (Penguin Poets)

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This slim volume is most definitely an epic. Ambitious in scale and profound in depth, Schiff guides the reader on a dream-like tour through both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the hidden enclaves of her subconscious. Told in what almost comes across as a long rambling journal entry interrupted by bursts of factoids and reminiscences, Information Desk is a nearly hallucinatory experience. Part natural science, part art history, with little slices of middle-class American womanhood sprinkled around the edges; the intensity with which memory, experience, and truth are related is genuinely mesmerizing.

Schiff breaks this epic poem down into three parts, dissected with invocations to three different wasp species that weave in between the flowing narrative like the guiding arrows on a museum floor. In the same way that dreams have connecting threads, these tripartite sections guide the reader through the surreal halls of the Museum, showcasing the mundane alongside the bizarre, opening secret panels behind the artwork that invite inspection and introspection as Schiff weaves a narrative that is wholly original and entirely intoxicating.

Reviewed By:

Author Robyn Schiff
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 144 pages
Publisher Penguin Publishing Group
Publish Date 15-Aug-2023
ISBN 9780143136804 Buy this Book
Issue October 2023
Category Poetry & Short Stories