Instant Winner

Carrie Fountain. Penguin, $20 (74p) ISBN 978-0-14-312663-8
Fountain foregoes the researched material and framing that characterized her first book, the 2010 National Poetry Series-winning Burn Lake, in favor of straightforward, personal narratives exploring the spiritual effects of motherhood. Addressing her child early on in the collection, she writes, "in the end, I was finally/ standing outside myself/ and watching. I could see/ that what brought me/ into the world was pulling/ you into the world." Saving any cynicism for a few poems about working as a writing teacher, these poems are wholly earnest, open, and loving. The "Prayer" poems that punctuate the collection are often indistinguishable from the personal narratives in terms of subject matter and perspective. Perhaps this is because, as she admits in the penultimate and prosaic "Prayer (Become a Buffalo)": "I do not pray/ anymore and do not know how to pray, though I spend so much/ of my time wishing I knew how to pray, which, I suppose is very/ close to praying... Inside the body,/ everything's real." Motherhood transformed Fountain fundamentally—her body, her soul and her stories—and each poem reflects a rediscovery of vulnerability and the purity of new life, "whimpering in colorful pajamas,/with their stories, which were sad,// and their fears, which were crystalline." (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/2015
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
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