Lie Down Too

Lesle Lewis. Alice James (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-882295-85-2
Lewis has found a new way to make a prose poem: almost all the works in this winning third book consist of compact, independently beautiful sentences, laid out separately, one atop another, like shelves, then tied together by a title. "The stars fall into the ocean and we look at them as if they are only stars./ I walk into a shadow./ It occurs to me that without some confidence, it is difficult to work, and we must work." What holds these sentences into one poem? Its subject, named in the title: the mountain Sugarloaf, from whose summit Lewis (Small Boat) speaks. One set of poems portrays seasons and months ("March Sun Grief"), another examines chronic illness. Other pages and sentences address love and sex, shame and pride, memory and forgetting. Yet what stands out are not Lewis's subjects but the variety of her sentences, and the way they fall together at last. Few poets handle both syntax and sound as she does, and few flirt so well both with, and against, common sense, with and against ordinary adult experience—"I am to return to the office of the woman who will say yes to my plans./ Geese return, buttons come undone, textiles relax." (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/18/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
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