cover image The Wynona Stone Poems

The Wynona Stone Poems

Caki Wilkinson. Persea (Norton, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-0-8925

Set in a deft array of reader-friendly meters and rhymes, this second effort from Wilkinson (Circles Where the Head Should Be) becomes a fine, moving portrait of a largely unrealized life. Wynona Stone played high school basketball in her hometown, moved away for college but soon returned. Working for a local museum, she does handicrafts and has an unsatisfactory love life with a local TV personality—“blowing the Weatherman,/ to put it bluntly.” Wilkinson assembles pentameter stanzas, clean short lines, and snapshots of Americana. Her introspective woman-at-loose-ends might be familiar from fiction, but few books of poetry have done this sort of character so well, and with the bonus of well-managed forms: “No matter where she is, she’s looking in/ on someone else’s story.” Wilkinson veers into social satire, and hits her mark: in the renovated town, “the gallery/ that used to be a mill, now capitalized/ The Mill sells space and photographs of mills.” But most of her lines deliver a dry sympathy for a woman who could use a listening ear: “what’s holding her together/ is the energy she’d need to come undone.” If the book seems to end in the middle, it only does justice to Wynona’s unfinished life: she can’t know what her third act will be. [em](Jan.) [/em]