Rome

Dorothea Lasky. Norton/Liveright, $23.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-87140-939-3
Lasky (Thunderbird) opens her fourth collection with the phrase "Consume my heart" and proceeds to consume herself over the course of the book's 59 poems. From the beginning, the poems are concerned with death and self, But otherwise it's hard to see past the vague obsessions clouding the work. There is maybe a broken relationship, maybe a death, maybe depression. Each poem is concerned with pointing out that it is a poem, that the reader is holding a book of poems. The trope is occasionally interesting; "Horace, to the Romans," reaches passed the word to call out the reader for disliking poems about poetry. Unfortunately, that moment of meta-humor fades quickly and the book gets bogged down in repetition and reveling in its own melancholy. Lasky claims that people don't read poems because "speaking to the dead is not something you want to do," before turning around and saying that poems exist "Because of sound." Neither claim is really backed up in the work. Still, there are some great sensory images, as when Lasky reflects upon "the yellow light of the sun eating my face." You believe her and want to feel the same. Sadly, the book is unfocused and meanders for too long, the feelings she intends to evoke cannot get past the words on the page. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-0-87140-940-9
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