by Lindsey Webb
7 x 7 in.
Vivid and haunting elegy facing Mormonism, suicide, and gender in the American West.
“In Plat, Lindsey Webb surveys the dream space of grief. By delimiting the reader’s view to the geographical, philosophical—even ecological—dimensions of her own personal loss, Webb pushes sentiment out of the grid. Much like Lucretia Martel’s film, The Headless Woman, Plat interrogates capitalism, collective cultural life and religion through the unrealized dreams of Prophets, the unspoken words of the dead, and the violent bang and clatter of an accident that’s always held unseen. Plat is the perfect song for our dystopian world and Lindsey Webb, the singer of our utopian dreams.”
“Every time I open Lindsey Webb’s Plat it reveals itself to be something uncannily different, so much so that I am beginning to understand it as being exactly that: an environment composed of the many facets of its personality constantly shifting, i.e. a book-length spinning jenny, the translation of the self-consciousness of moving through a succession of interiors in the absence of the one who is waiting, elegy and augury, just for starters. And because it is poetry, I understand it also as the realization that grief is dimensional (architectural, horticultural), the design and cultivation of the afterlife.”
“At once phenomenological and grounded, vast and detailed, Lindsey Webb’s Plat renews my faith in language. Its contours remind me of Rosmarie Waldrop’s Curves to the Apple, but Plat finds a grammar all its own. An exquisite debut collection.”
“The three poems of Plat—‘Garden,’ ‘Mancala,’ and ‘House’—constitute a tripartite movement through mourning as though to move beyond it, but equally in terror and in thrall one remains snagged on the thorny subjunctives of these premises. Snagged on the as-though. ‘I crawl,’ Webb writes, ‘in the interest of the dead.’ This calamitous book treats grief even as it assays the estate of the Real. The poet’s instruments: a burnished language of the uncanny, ‘a veiled approach toward a sentence,’ and a ‘collaps[ing] inward toward the future, away from all frontiers.’ I am deeply affected by Lindsey Webb’s necropastoral.”
“Lindsey Webb’s Plat explores brutal loss through the lens of a failed utopia, with each poem crafted like a careful prayer. ‘I’ve not opened your letters. I’ve not kept your laugh fresh,’ the speaker admits, leading us out of an ethereal garden and into a house where death is reluctantly accepted. In Plat, heaven is an ever-changing, manmade structure where pain and suffering persist, with hope nothing more than a whisper. Webb creates lines with careful brush strokes, each more devastating than the last.”
“In Webb’s brilliant book, Plat, a story unfolds in plants and in futures that do not exist. The poems ask, is there room for death in the utopia? Is there room for any of us in the plat, in the house, or in the garden? Reading this stunning collection reinforces that loss is both collective and connecting. Together we are in the house and together we are hurting. Windows, walls, all feeling.”
Lindsey Webb’s Plat is a haunted, Western elegy which grapples with the suicide of her childhood friend in the context of their Mormon upbringing. In conversation with Joseph Smith’s prophesied but failed heavenly city, the Plat of Zion, Webb explores a vexed, disorienting space. Her prose poems lead the reader through an unearthly garden and into a house which eludes laws of time or space, unearthing the porous border between the living and the dead.
Plat hearkens to Leonora Carrington, Lyn Hejinian, and Willa Cather, with ecstatic and painterly language that broods over gender, death, and memory like a thundercloud. As ecological and built structures feverishly crumble, Webb maps the grief of a yet-unachieved utopias in the wake of personal loss. She considers how dreams for our imagined worlds and selves may survive.