Dog Girl

Heidi Lynn Staples, Author . Ahsahta $17.50 (66p) ISBN 978-0-916272-95-1

Staples's sophomore collection is informed in equal measure by traditional English balladry and post-modern literature. Her taut lyrics reimagine the English language, pulling multiple meanings out of word-sounds, à la Paul Muldoon at his most nonsensical: “I wracked my refrain, that blousy souse.// I was bard. I was crazed.// I was dog girl's shame.// So, I culled my maim.” Throughout these lyrics, prose poems and language sprays, Staples tempers her avant-garde tendencies with a folksy sentimentality. Though every commonplace trope and cliché is worried, torqued and tweaked—“damsel in undress,” “I feels sad tonight,” “I wore my best address”—the everyday matters of housekeeping, childbirth, marriage, sex and death are ever present. Occasionally the whimsy feels forced (“an uber tuber super dooper doplar radar”) but in her finer moments, Staples's poems can be truly singular: “leaves at full-tilt trillingly / a tremble is a hymn / 'I' a humble thrum's fable.” (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 01/01/2007
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