Nicole Cooley, Author . Louisiana State $17.95 (77p) ISBN 978-0-8071-3584-6

Cooley's mother and father, who lived in New Orleans, proved unable or unwilling to evacuate when Hurricane Katrina hit. They and their house survived, but the trauma—to Cooley's family and to her region—inspired the poet to tour the devastation in 2006. Her third book is the memorable result: “I came home to see/ the city grieving,” she declares on the first page; “The city drained then hacked apart.” Highly wrought poems (pantouns, and even a sestina) end up outnumbered and overshadowed by pages that simply accumulate startling data: “a torn Blue Roof unspooled yellow caution tape/ sheetrock black rot.” Trying to “write the poem that reveals the city,/ that reveals// what's inside, a house to house search,” Cooley (Resurrection ) does not always make compelling phrases, but the pictures she draws are hard to forget. The last segment and the least personal, reacting to what Cooley saw in Mississippi and Alabama, may be the strongest: she not only describes, concisely, her travels, but also gives perverse and angry voice at last to the human impulse toward destruction, toward self-frustration and self-defeat: “Listen, the bird-foot delta is an artifact/ of engineering, so let's break it, let's wash it inland.” (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/22/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-0-8071-3756-7
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