Inseminating the Elephant

Lucia Perillo, Author . Copper Canyon $22 (93p) ISBN 978-1-55659-291-1

Perillo is poet who aggressively, unflinchingly and humorously takes it all in; her poems here feature an ode to Motorola, a fat junkie, a bra fitting and Plath's hair, not to mention the act described in the title poem. She is not afraid of beginning a poem with a list of great men who all “had a woman and child/ they needed to ditch,” and then comparing the way the universe regards everyone to the way those great men regarded their children. She avoids sentimentality while confronting the rebellions of her own body, which landed her in a wheelchair: “She rolls up/ to watch me board, as people do,/ because it is interesting / to see the wheelchair maneuvered backward/ into the van.” She manages to write a surprising poem about Viagra, with Niagara Falls' “silver surge” as its central image. Perillo is never uninteresting. In the title poem, her chutzpah and roving eye blend perfectly, demonstrating in fairly intricate detail how a German zoologist's preparation and approach toward an elephant's “vestibule” compares to the reader approaching the speaker's own inner life, her “seed-pearl” and “opalescent sorrow.” (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/20/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 106 pages - 978-1-61932-023-9
Paperback - 93 pages - 978-1-55659-295-9
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