Bestiary Dark

Marianne Boruch.. Copper Canyon, $16 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-55659-637-7
Written with unabashed awe, the bristling 11th collection by Boruch (The Anti-Grief) describes her experiences on a Fulbright Fellowship in Australia in 2019. Inspired by Pliny the Elder's Natural History Encyclopedia, which was written from "his collecting, recollecting/ every blur and fine point" of the natural world in 77 CE, the collection is divided into five "books." Boruch's enthusiasm for the animal world is evident: "OMG, the native welcome swallows swoop for insects," she writes, with palpable excitement. She describes an unforgettable image of a pelican’s throat lit up in the sun, the silhouette of fish thrashing inside, and elsewhere admits her ignorance: "I understand, I said to the Indigenous Elder. No you don't, he said." Boruch keeps her touch light and selfdeprecating as the world that the poems describe disappears, or has already been destroyed by the bush fires that killed or displaced an estimated three billion animals shortly after her time there. The Great Barrier Reef is "still gorgeous except those places of die-off/ quiet gray out." But she believes that to "recollect is to rescue,/ to invite back the plain astonishments." These poems offer delights and fascinations at every turn. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/14/2021
Release date: 10/12/2021
Genre: Poetry
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