Please Bury Me in This

Allison Benis White. Four Way, $15.95 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-1-935536-83-3
White (Small Porcelain Head) meditates on mental health in this spellbinding collection, a lamentation dedicated to four women she knew “who took their lives within a year.” Her primary investigations concern the liminality and ever-imperfect definitions of feeling, the duality of emotions, and language’s role as a medicine and a mirror. She draws inspiration from numerous women writers—including Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton—and borrows text from family members’ writings during the Holocaust. White describes the ability for another’s words to serve as an avatar for one’s emotions, calling reading a means “to love with someone else’s mind.” Furthermore, she generates her own definitions for the most ineffable experiences; love is “to be injured in the same way at the same time,” while depression is “a bouquet of knives where the head should be.” White searches for the purpose of depression—“maybe emptiness is a form of listening.// Maybe I am just listening”—and explores its cohabitation with desire: “At the bottom of suffering, like a lake, there is a ring and I am reaching down.” White’s courageous and provocative collection inspires hope by reminding readers that strength can be found in the most desolate places: “What is more beautiful than the hopeless singing?” (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/20/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
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