The poetry of Elizabeth Metzger explores the lattice-work of mind, perspective, and experience. Her poetic is perhaps best described as existential; it questions pointedly, but constantly defers the resolutions it suggests. Elizabeth asks us to consider what it means to be a self and how this self may be reconciled with the world. Her poems become something of a thread by which our imaginations are alternately bound to and loosened from the inevitabilities of sense experience.
Elizabeth’s poetry is a sketchbook devoted to the ever-shifting contours of mind. Dreams, memories, and consciousness contrast and coalesce as they consider the extent to which expression gives sense to experience. In contrast to the melodramatic contrarianism rampant among contemporary poets, Elizabeth offers neither an “inversion of the truth” nor “a mind made ill.” Instead, she challenges us to experience poetry as a process. Her work is not the product of synthesis but the consequence of tension. It oscillates between form and content, truth and beauty, sound and sense, silence and speech, the historical and the new.
In the end, it reminds us: “much madness is divinest sense/much sense the starkest madness…”