Raw Goods Inventory

Emily Rosko, Author University of Iowa Press $16 (82p) ISBN 978-0-87745-980-4
In her lyrical and fragmentary Iowa Poetry Prize-winning debut, Rosko, a former Stegner, Ruth Lilly and Javits fellow, explores the borders where the natural and the manmade meet. In neat couplets, tercets or shapely stanzas, these 50 poems treat pigs at state fairs, missed communications between lovers, antiseptic hospital waiting rooms and the funeral marches of elephants. Fabricated and natural artifacts collude to create chilly metaphors for contemporary ennui: ""...I'll escape to / the deserted drive-in lot where the movie screen is missing / panels and is overshadowed by pines."" Reflexive observations make many of these poems refreshingly vulnerable: ""Oh, sex-drive that won't be active forever!"" At times, however, content takes a back seat to wordy sentence formulations and obscure language. Rosko's tendency toward lyricism makes this a promising first collection.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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