Julie Marie Wade calls The Rusted City “a play in poems” over at The Rumpus. Read the review here.
Some of my favorite passages:
“The reader not only experiences the events of this book in her own body; she simultaneously witnesses these events as they are performed before her by others. Hurt’s poetry pierces the reader’s skin just as the arrow of a gesture, a phrase, a natural disaster, pierces a character’s skin, a city’s soft shell. The set is mirrored, the effect prismatic. The choreography is flawless right up to the moment where subject and witness merge.”
“Now, as a reader, I do not regard Youngstown in some abstract way—say, a representative city in an economic decline. Neither do I simply imagine Youngstown. Hurt’s is a penetrating aesthetic. That is, I do not merely empathize with a city imperiled. I enter it and am immersed in it.”
“The final act of The Rusted City is a wonder of linguistic theatrics and visual parataxis. The last poems appear side by side, one called “The City Opens,” the other “The Smallest Sister is Radiant.” These poems are like actors on the stage, looking deeply into each other’s eyes, reciting their lines with conviction.”