The Sleep Hotel

Amy Newlove Schroeder, Author . Oberlin College/Field $15.95 (71p) ISBN 978-0-932440-39-6

The harsh lines and sentence fragments in Schroeder's hard-to-forget debut create collisions between the libidinal and the numinous: “Struggling to get out/ from under the hood of the world,” the poet compares her unsatisfied desire to “Sailboats asleep in their slips,” declaring “I love you the way the ground loves the flame.” Those phrases may begin to show the seriousness with which these taut poems take their goals: compressed yet raw, alert to the weights of words yet focused on emotion so strong it bends language all out of shape. Pre-Socratic philosophers, Jungian psychoanalysis, the heart-on-sleeve feel of Spanish modernism, and memories of loneliness in St. Louis all contribute to these always brief, always intense, and yet satisfyingly various pages, one about sex, another about a circus, another about a car ride on Interstate 5, another about a self-destructive friend: “What does it feel like to be in the rain of fire/ Pull the veil of leaves over your face & sleep inside the burlap sack.” Schroeder ought to appeal to readers who like Franz Wright, though she does not share Wright's recourse to doctrinal religion. Instead, she looks within her troubled self. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/19/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
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