cover image Steal It Back

Steal It Back

Sandra Simonds. Saturnalia (UPNE, dist.), $15 trade paper (90p) ISBN 978-0-9915454-9-0

Displaying her signature fierceness, Simonds (The Sonnets) wreaks havoc in this provocative, spontaneous, and confrontational fourth collection, leaving “some subatomic skull-fractured wilderness, bombardment kissed.” She explores, among other things, motherhood and the substance of feminism against the backdrop of a contemporary American landscape marred by capitalism: “I passed the Hooters, Publix, McDonald’s/ where I sometimes use the internet to grade papers/ when my neighbor’s internet is down.” Seemingly written in a breathless rush, moving from thought to thought, Simonds’s poems address her current circumstances and those of others who struggle. “Sephora, this one’s for my sagging face/ and the service worker who wants to sell me/ pink hair mascara. She is poor; let her/ sell. This poem is for my debit/ card,” she writes, “And it is also for the legislation/ of my uterus.” Simonds does not agonize over craft. Instead, she draws momentum from quickly recorded streams of thought and the messiness of daily life. “A Poem for Landlords” starts acerbically before unwinding into a sort of day report: “I am writing this so quickly./ Soon Craig will be home/ and I will need to breastfeed/ and cook dinner.” But amid Simonds’s ephemera, lines resonate: “The world will not be saved by despair/ so we should spend it all on joy, right?” (Dec.)