One Morning—

Rebecca Wolff. Wave (Consortium, dist.), $18 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-940696-13-3
In her fourth collection, Wolff (The King), poet, novelist, and founding editor of Fence magazine and Fence Books, hits with constant flashes of humor and revelation in poems as tightly controlled as they are varied. Observations and declarations, though unreliable, emerge as recurring topics, “as though I thought that I could understand every side/ from the outside.” Along the way, Wolff engages with the Brontë sisters, Antiques Roadshow, exonerated former prisoner Yusef Salaam, and a range of other political and cultural topics idiosyncratic to the poet’s deft thinking. This wide range is one of the collection’s finest qualities, with poems conjuring music out of fragmentation, narrative prose, rapid repetition, simple lyric imagery, and unexpected syntax. An account of a church service in which “I was crying because I was not used to an experience of shared instruction in goodness” feels as comfortable here as the belief that human intelligence “could have flamed// so bright as to stitch this square/ with a lady’s fan// a velvet boot/ tilted teacup.” Not quite ekphrastic, not quite lyric, not quite personal, Wolff instead creates a book that should not be described by what it is, but by what it becomes, from each absorbing line and page to the next. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/17/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-1-940696-12-6
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