This Week, I Read Allyson Paty: Five O’ Clock on the Shore

Image Credit: Jiyeon Park via Unsplash

This week, I read Allyson Paty’s chapbook, Five O’Clock on the Shore, a — collection of poems which explore temporal — and causality. I found this book to be really intriguing. It has the feel of a confessional.

In her long poem, entitled “Millennial,” the speaker says, “Anything I did or had could be given a name and a value.” She then goes on to show how actions and exchanges shaped her life. How exchanges were made, so that she had the things that she did or does.

There are several such exchanges, for example:

“People with tumors lay down on a table for my father. My father cut the tumors out./ The people with tumors paid a hospital, the hospital paid my dad, and he paid for me.”

The series of statements show cause and effect throughout her life. How she came to be who she is and where she is. One would think that these would take the poetry and — out of the speaker’s life, however, these pieces become deeply meaningful and artfully spoken.

“Everything I did or had could be given a name and a value. It was a violent translation./Nothing it could not touch.”

“Millennial” evokes a certain sense of longing. For a simpler life with less of the “violent translation.” It’s a longing for life to mean something more than just these exchanges. There’s something deeply human and aching about the piece. Simply put, it’s stunning.

I highly recommend Five O’Clock on the Shore. Paty’s work is phenomenal. You can find Five O’Clock on the Shore through above/ground press.


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