To be tethered to something can be a good thing, can feel safe and secure, can feel necessary. Right now, we are tethered to a situation, to our homes, to our work, to our families, to uncertainty. Even before this time of pandemic that we find ourselves in, we have each been tethered to something or someone, physically, emotionally, or metaphorically, at least once in life if not for an entire life. The first of life’s tethers is the one that connects us to a mother.
In “Body of Render,” Felicia Zamora cleverly employs mini-prose poems and collage-like fragmentation, similar to previous collections, but what makes this book stand out is her attention to the current American political landscape as well as race in the era of Trump.
If poetry is inclined to seal itself like a closet, if it embraces ellipsis, elision, mystery, even subterfuge, the poet seems in Knorr’s formulation to be its counterforce, creating new worlds and opportunities for insight and discovery. Ballast, with grace and intelligence, inquires into scenes of love and intimacy, the precarity of the body and environment, and the tensile relationship between constraint and creativity.
George is in China now, buried there. Or maybe not. Maybe he was cremated, his ashes flung into Beijing smog—I’ll never know. But one thing is certain: this son of New England is not in America.
I’m up because I can’t stay down. I could blame the aspen raking a branch across the window. Or a wounded toy in the next room sending off a distress call of three long beeps. Or my wife, Jacqui, dreaming again of babies swimming inside her like tadpoles—maybe she...
Most men can’t handle knowing what they are / Capable of—that the only thing they own of / The lives they stumble through are the long / Nights of plague & quiet that we are pushing
Ten minutes later, behind the locked door, / sitting on top of the closed toilet seat,
The first time I met my husband, he was wearing a single-breasted, peacock-blue suit made of silk. In the khaki and navy blazer culture that was Washington, D.C. at the time, Mario stood out. With his continental name, olive skin, and sartorial flair, many assumed he was Italian. That people were surprised to discover he was Mexican said less about him than it did about their preconceptions, some of which I shared. This was before I’d moved to Mexico, before I’d read The Labyrinth of Solitude, in which Octavio Paz says of the zoot-suit wearing pachuco:
His disguise is a protection, but it also differentiates and isolates him: it both hides him and points him out.
Maybe there is no hierarchy of suffering, no hierarchy of loss. Then again, of course there is. In “Lost and Found,” the first story in Amina Gautier’s lovely collection, The Loss of All Lost Things, a boy has been “plucked from the curb like a penny found on the sidewalk” by a strange man, pulled into a car, and taken away.
Nothing calls back to my dog when he barks / against the dark window glass.
In October of 2013 I received an email from Andrew Merton—a journalist, essayist, poet and professor Emeritus of English at the University of Hampshire. Although he and I were not acquainted, he’d stumbled across one of my poems and reached out to tell me he was intrigued. “I think you may feel a small shock of recognition when you read my own poem, “‘Snow,'” he wrote…