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Gigi Marks. Silverfish Review Press (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-878851-60-4
Marks's work can seem almost too simple: short blocks of free verse in ordinary American speech, addressing her rural environs, her gardens, her baby, her family: her tones and technique should win over the readers who want their poems sincere, spiritually pure, and immediately comprehensible, and yet this ample debut volume introduces complications that reward other modes of reading too. Sometimes these are figures of speech, asking why we read ourselves into nonhuman nature: "Backporch" concludes with "bees buzzing/ like an audience talking about what it sees." "Locust" finds a family pressed for time and yet glad to waste it, "Sunday afternoon spending/ itself like change slipped into a parking meter"; a poem of erotic disappointment, "Wire Canyon," tries to "remember/ how your presence was/ no comfort there." Other standouts consider the feelings of babies and those who care for them. On a baby approached by a yellow jacket while bathing, Marks "could see the red/ face hot and swollen behind the tears,/ the welted skin, spilled water,/ even if there was no sting." Sometimes Marks speaks in the voices of flora, giving her readers a break from her one human life; and yet that life emerges, cleanly and subtly, from poems that grow deeper as they're re-read. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
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