Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love

Keith Wilson. Copper Canyon, $16 (80p) ISBN 978-1-55659-561-5
Wilson’s debut explores love, violence, isolation, and enduring uncertainty. Beneath ostensible happiness, the speaker exhumes ambivalence through stark honesty: “Loving is a misnomer, because you are expected// of your heart’s opinion on a sentence that is never completed,/ even as you’re having it.” He explores ineradicable heartbreak with surgical precision: “Inspiration/ is the deadliest radiation./ It never completely leaves the bones.” Wilson’s work is rich with dynamic musicality, which he masters through a staccato progression of images: “A half-life without you / in my dreams /// how i had you / caramelized black /// mold / at heart /// i hold / i know / i have / my lowest hum /// cyanide / my zeal / ethereal.” At times, however, the fragmentlike abstractions leave the reader without the guidance of a clear narrative: “All of space/ cannot be space. Arousing// patches in the grass. A mouse,/ I never said to you. Invasion of clover, black// pollen of your hair. Only yesterday/ I said I love. The opposite of stars.” Wilson’s collection is romantic yet world-weary, bereaved but fortified—a kindred reflection of the heart in the modern world. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/13/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
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