cover image Druthers


Jennifer Moxley. Flood, $15.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-9981695-3-8

Moxley (The Open Secret) reveals herself to be a poet’s poet, delving deep into poetic tradition while employing language that is often archaic, her poems flitting from free verse to traditional rhyme schemes. The poems are not distinctly old-fashioned, but they can feel quaint, as in one of the collection’s odes to middle age: “Although I dance I am not young,/ Neither am I old./ My knees in plié creak,/ My breasts are feeling low.” Moxley draws much from 17th-century English poet-cleric Robert Herrick in particular, and her appreciation for a bygone era of language provides opportunities for droll innuendo and double entendre; a poem referencing Cupid’s arrow, for instance, is titled “The Old Prick.” She elegantly characterizes poetry as a vehicle for immortality: “A stellar music, soul-tuned./ Infinite this language, though the receptor, flesh portal/ (called human) is not.” Elsewhere, Moxley praises the pleasures of encountering another reader’s marginalia in a book and riffs comically on imaginative definitions of “penetralium.” In “The Honest Cook’s Insomnia,” Moxley proffers sage culinary advice that works as a metaphor for the writing process: “Do not cook to impress/ others or conform/ to their tastes.” In keeping with her own advice, Moxley proves herself a remarkable wit and an advocate for poetic tradition. (Feb.)