Primate Behavior: Poems

Sarah Lindsay, Author Grove/Atlantic $20 (96p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1619-2
Had Dr. Dolittle fathered a prodigious daughter, she might well be behind the bizarre and entertaining personae found on the pages of Lindsay's first-book bestiary. For example, consider the odd precocity of the narrator in ""Manatee in Honey"": ""I thought I might die of foolishness at last/ being fed every time I opened my mouth, my lashes/ held beautifully shut by pure molasses,// and a smile on all my lips that wouldn't go."" Or the two sets of Siamese twins, one entranced by the sight of a giraffe--""Chang thinks, If everyone looked that strange/ we'd still be selling duck eggs. Eng:/ If everyone looked like that but us,/ they'd pay to see our short necks""--while the other pair join the circus and become pregnant. Lindsay's voice is impersonal and intelligent, fantastical and yet firmly grounded in world history, zoology and--since she is also a cellist--classical music. Focused on freakiness, most directly in the section Circus Merk, Lindsay's dark-edged, sometimes creepy poems are also imbued with a buoying sense of respect--for the different, the unexpected and the challenging. The evolutionary unlikelihoods presented in such poems as ""Cheese Penguin"" and ""Toby the Sapient Pig"" provoke a far deeper response than surprise. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 112 pages - 978-0-8021-3557-5
Hardcover - 104 pages - 978-0-8021-1616-1
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