Bottle the Bottles the Bottles the Bottles

Lee Upton. Cleveland State Univ. Poetry Center, $15.95 trade paper (100p) ISBN 978-0-9860257-7-8
Multi-genre writer Upton (Swallowing the Sea), a professor of English at Lafayette College, displays a lilting voice broadened by a knack for nervy, snare-tight lines that double back on in the winner of the 2015 Cleveland State University Poetry Prize. Though she leans heavily on rhyme and often boxes herself in with poems that casually address and expound upon the subject of their titles, Upton has an ear worth praising, as evidenced by such lines as "strapping dew,// dew beyond the grass slip/ dew to dip/ under the lips of seraphim,// like a near-cliché that never gets/ rooted in common parlance." The collection's longest poems allow Upton to exhibit her talents for narrative, cadence, and wit to collect in the various silent spaces that their fragmentary and episodic forms create. Whether she's writing against men who only notice her when wearing a blouse—"What was it about the blouse// that wasn't about me?"—or devoting a line to "My father who fell down a hay shaft," Upton breaks into pockets of fascinating outrage by way of brief, brutal lines that refuse to editorialize. (May)
Reviewed on: 10/05/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
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