One Illuminated Letter of Being, Donald Platt’s new collection of thirty-two heart-wrenching poems, is oriented around the loss of his mother—itself a disorienting experience, for anyone—that anticipates her death, reconciles itself to it, and resumes living, in a new way.
Outside it’s North Dakota/And November feels like November, but on the moon.
…but maybe I’m just a loser/who has read too much
I’m sorry I stabbed Vann Marsden in the eye. It’s terrible that his wife had to die in the aftermath. The fact that she was already ill and couldn’t take the strain doesn’t alter my sadness over her passing, but when a director takes all the movies you love and remakes them as stark, near silent catalogs of gestures, the critic has to respond.
The languor, the drive, the traffic, the parking,/the walking blocks to public beach access,/down past an atilt row of porta-potties,
Though the library was closed, the lights had briefly blazed on, and she guessed Baker had broken in again. When Susan rushed through the front door and saw Baker, she grabbed the desk phone and shouted that she was dialing 911. Baker then fled through the side door. Then Susan called me, the librarian of this one-room rural Vermont library.
Victoria Chang’s collection, Obit, seems to have anticipated the prolonged good-byes of 2020. In it, Chang says good-bye to loved ones, feelings, objects—everything we feel and know, who we were and where we’re heading—especially when someone we love is dying, and our sense of awareness is heightened.
This stunning book-length poem, broken up into 103 sections, examines the grief and trauma associated with losing a young sister from suicide. Threaded also through these lyrics is a conversation with Paul Celan’s Selected Poems and Dante’s Inferno.