cover image What the Lyric Is

What the Lyric Is

Sara Nicholson. The Song Cave (SPD, dist.), $17.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-9967786-1-9

"No one will read this. Not even you," writes Nicholson (The Living Method) in a mischievously witty second collection that reveals her to be thoroughly educated in the subtle details of her craft. She addresses existential tedium, media, and her bottom ("I can't fit in this room I'm building./ My ass can barely fit/ Without assistance/ Through the door of this stanza/ Which is why I invented/ The pronoun %E2%80%98you'%E2%80%89"). But this collection is primarily a work of metafiction. Nicholson explores, for instance, what it means to be a writer, to translate an idea, or to form a conceit. She pokes fun at the lives of poets: "I'm the creature that dwells/ A hundred feet below your computer// In a cave that looks to you like a prison." Nicholson also frequently snickers at the tiresome rigmarole she puts herself through while writing. "I began the day/ By overthinking the relation/ Of seagulls to the morning sky./ Birds eating peaches/ Or seafoam./ Birds eating colors/ In a nautical landscape," she writes, "I'm telling you this, reader,/ Because I like you/ And want to help you." Some readers may tire of the metaphysical spirals, but Nicholson proves herself to be a charming, talented poet and this collection contains some phenomenal work. (Apr.)