Splinters Are Children of Wood

Leia Penina Wilson. Univ. of Notre Dame, $15 trade paper (108p) ISBN 978-0-268-10618-8
In this stark and arresting book-length sequence, Wilson (i built a boat with all the towels in your closet (and will let you drown)) asks questions of violence, victimization, and complicity: “this my epic wanting all white/ men dead,” and “the world is always burning always burning the gurl always dies.” While the work is intriguing in its ideological and philosophical underpinnings, some readers may find that the poems frequently give away too much of their intended meaning in exposition. For instance, Wilson writes that “in the poems we all die just another way poetry reflects life another way a woman is made i mean marginalized.” From an aesthetic standpoint, the book is at its strongest when it leaves room for the reader to participate in its weaving of myth with activism. In “We Carve,” she writes: “this skull helen’s./ this skull marguerite’s./ this skull matilda’s./ this skull marianne’s.” Here, the purposeful withholding invites the reader to imagine, speculate, and situate themselves within the book’s largely interior drama. Still, with its blend of spare but powerful lines, many readers will find this an inspired effort to rally disempowered voices. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 09/11/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
Hardcover - 108 pages - 978-0-268-10617-1
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