What Comes Alive Through Death: A Review of Jill Bialosky’s Collection ASYLUM
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.
How many little lives in between my fingernails, how many layers / of sod, of seed? This cold grass is all corpse and it’s only six o’clock /
in the evening. At the group home, I’ll spoon green beans and strained peaches / into my grandfather’s mouth, push them back onto his plate when he shoves
Seventh inning, score tied, and Shaw leans back in his favorite chair and begins another beer. I’ve already had my usual three and have turned down his offer of a fourth. Since I got here he hasn’t said a word about anything but the ballgame, one we’ve been looking forward to against our division rivals. He doesn’t look at me when he comments on the game and doesn’t seem to care if I reply.
I’m the strut of starlight / in the open tabernacle— / I’m the songs of leopard frogs / in the dew-spackled grass.
I feel sometimes as if everything is old to me; pieces of toast, movies, even the view from the front porch. I can’t recapture how it tasted or looked before the world was only striated lines: land, river, sky; columns on a page of newsprint: news news old news.
JIM DANIELS‘ new book, Birth Marks, was published by BOA Editions in 2013. His poem “Factory Love” is displayed on the roof of a race car. A native of Detroit, Daniels teaches at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Review of Refuge by Adrie Kusserow
Hunger and nurturing sit side by side, unevenly, in Refuge; one side never reconciles the other.
How a Perfect Husband Acts
Right when we sit there the doorbell rings. Sheila excuses herself. One of us jokes, maybe it’s Brent!, and his wife says, that’s strike two, buddy. Sheila returns with Brent. Sheila says, everyone, this is Bill.
DAVID LEHMAN is the author of Yeshiva Boys (2009), When a Woman Loves a Man (2005), The Evening Sun (2002), The Daily Mirror: A Journal in Poetry (1998), and other books.
Review of The Switching/Yard by Jan Beatty
These descriptions are as particular as they are universal, underscoring the notion that this collection is as much about the reader as it is about the poet. Beatty is successful in straddling the line between personal and collective by insisting on precision.
All I found of our granddaughter, Josie, was one of her pink jelly sandals, the stick she’d chewed her lollipop free of, and a strand of yellow hair.
Why Write? #26: Marla Cinilia
I write to return home. I write because I’ve been away a long time, but that doesn’t excuse my forgetting. I write to memorize by sight the difference between a hawk and a turkey vulture, to remember that while both birds coast on invisible currents of wind, the...