Kingdom Animalia

Aracelis Girmay. BOA (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-934414-62-0
Girmay’s poem “Arroz Poetica,” from her 2007 collection Teeth (2007), continues to catalyze antiwar sentiment. This six-part book of verse ends with a short “Ars Poetica”—“May the poems be/ the snail’s trail.// Everywhere I go,/ every inch: quiet record// of the foot’s silver prayer./I lived once./ Thank you./ It was here”—that points up its simultaneous strengths and limitations. On the one hand, there’s nothing as clear and timely as “Arroz” here; it’s almost as if Girmay needed an entire book to write past it and back into a voice that can reflect her own life. On the other, the “foot’s silver prayer” of the “Ars” seems, in this collection, to take in a great deal of America and its global history. Girmay has Eritrean, Puerto Rican, and African-American roots; the section titled “a book of erased cities” brings a poignant, multifaceted sense of loss to poems like “Mississippi Burial, On the Ferry to Algiers”: “it is possible to wear your ghosts like a face,/ which is to say, my face has been here before.” So while there’s nothing as immediately gripping and galvanizing here, the book’s “snail’s trail” offers plenty for the patient. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/24/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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Open Ebook - 121 pages - 978-1-280-59870-8
Ebook - 80 pages - 978-1-934414-68-2
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