The Last Usable Hour

Deborah Landau. Copper Canyon (Consortium, dist.), $15 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-55659-334-5
The poems of Landau's stunning second collection are dark, urgent, sexy, deeply sad, and, above all, powerful. Grouped into four sequences whose titles—"All Else Fails," "Blue Dark," "Someone" and "Welcome to the Future"—are as haunting as they are indicative of the psychic situation in which the book locates itself; these poems are spoken by a woman on the verge of letting go, giving up, fading away. The poems place us in a dark "new york/ city of hidden interiors" where the poems' speaker says to a lover (most likely imaginary), "dear someone I put a shimmer on for you/ tonight I am all sequins all lies// for you I've slit my skirt/ made a neckhole of longing." Real or not, this affair is dangerous, opening a pit of self-hate, though Landau's abandon is thrilling in the way danger always is: "dear someone," a later poems says, "thanks for the dream/ you leave a deep blue crease/ in the center of my day." Their speaker isn't sure where these very private verses—or perhaps confessions—are leading, but she knows she won't be coming back: "I'd say my name to him/ as we crossed the Triboro// I'd say it softly the way he likes it// it would be the last time/ I'd introduce myself that way." (July)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Ebook - 96 pages - 978-1-61932-044-4
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