How do we reconcile the uneasy yet inherent tension between our private and our public selves? How does the artist live authentically in a smoke-and-mirrors world rife with spin and branding? Rendering explores what is real and true both in art and in relationships. This new collection of poems by award-winning poet Jo Pitkin—her second from Salmon Poetry—examines illusion, delusion, hypocrisy, and betrayal through the cloudy lens of a transformative love affair. As she peels back her “pentimento selves,” Pitkin’s quest for fidelity and certainty beneath approximation’s translucent layers yields the “pearl of the possible.”
Of course, a poet leans first toward the most heart-rending, rawly skinning connotation of “rendering”: a delivery, a surrender. Something important is yielded, even to the melting point. Sometimes the “destination,” as in the title poem, comes as a complete shock. A self has shifted when we weren’t looking. Unsheltered and unnumbed. The path through passion, for instance, can be marked by “a chipped, mismatched cup”; once you’re there, “Hot, dark grief comes down the throat.” In each of Jo Pitkin’s poems, what isn’t seen at first insists on coming through with willing clarity.