LUCK IS LUCK

Lucia Perillo, Author
Lucia Perillo, Author . Random $19.95 (98p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6323-9
Reviewed on: 04/04/2005
Release date: 00/00/0000
Ebook - 112 pages - 978-0-307-43146-2
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Recipient of a 2000 MacArthur Fellowship, Perillo has turned out a fourth collection of poems in her signature style: sassy, slangy and aggressively matter-of-fact: "So ta-dah ," she writes, "Here's the moment to which we've been brung" ("I'm not sure about brung, " she immediately notes). Like many poets of her generation, Perillo cycles between the low and the high; she manages instantaneous leaps from troubadour poets to nipple rings, from raga trip-hop to the baby Jesus, seeking the irreverent in every possible moment of reverence, and vice versa. "When first they told me the serpent beguiled her / I pictured her eyes knocked loose and rattling around." It's no accident that Perillo mentions Eve—women, and their usual second-class role in the world, are a chief subject. Although her tone could be called puckish in places, its wry quality doesn't mask the real feminist anger that's at the core of the book and finds its expression in poems on Simone de Beauvoir, breast cancer, misogynistic poets and mutilated dolls: "Darling / lamb chop, don't you look feverish, don't you look faint, " she asks her doll, after she's finished removing all the limbs. Death creeps into the book's last section, but in her customary manner—and though she does occasionally give in to sentiment—Perillo isn't about to let a little thing like mortality get her down. "[H]ard luck is luck, nonetheless," she declares, and she gives us no choice but to believe her. (Apr.)

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