cover image In the Field Between Us

In the Field Between Us

Molly McCully Brown and Susannah Nevison. Persea, $15.95 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-0-89255-514-7

In this ethereal series of epistolary poems, two disabled poets build their own language of imagery and landscape where trees ask the question the speakers relentlessly examine: “what would you weather just to call yourself alive?” In Brown and Nevison’s intimate correspondence, the body is a site of complex dualities. The poets build a refuge, a place in which they can exist in many forms, sometimes even without their bodies: “On this other/ shore, where we/ have disembarked/ our bodies like the boats/ they are.” Divided into four sections, the epistles orbit events of irrevocable medical intervention. The sections titled “Aftermath,” “Recovery,” “Operating Room,” and “Pre-Op Holding Room” force the reader to move chronologically backwards through these stages. While almost all of the poems are letters between the two authors, each section also contains poems addressed to “Maker,” someone both spiritual and surgical. “If I can’t/ know my body before/ it was riven,/ show me/ your hands,” the poets demand of this entity. Brown and Nevison explore the body in all its contradictions: as a site of mourning and of celebration, and as a burden and a source of vivid brightness. (June)