Want for Lion

Paige Taggart. Trembling Pillow (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-9887257-5-1
Restless and relentlessly inventive, Taggart's debut collection oscillates between moments of self-consciousness, confession, and surrealism as "Words beat against the jar, wings, almost to blame." The poems display her finely tuned ear for the music of language; like variations on a theme, the lines chew on recurring images, playing with their associations. In "Is Land," for instance, the "island" is differentiated from the "mainland," such that "the mainland sort of has a dictatorship/ and the dictatorship is inherently evil/ it's evil because that's what people think of/ when they think of the word dictator." Though certain themes of longing, lost love, and past traumas tend to recur, each poem is guided by its own internal logic—sometimes elliptical but never obtuse—and it is in the moments of direct address that the work is at its most evocative and affecting. "What are you looking for," asks a voice in a section of "To Talk Its Way Out of Me," before proposing "moxie, hubcap,/ the spiraling of time dying inside of us." That voice continues, "forget all about me, I'm just here/ to guide you, I really want to make you feel better about your life." Taggart masterfully juxtaposes the strange, mundane, and magical, carving out space for her lively, contemporary voice. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
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