cover image Weapons Grade

Weapons Grade

Terese Svoboda, . . Univ. of Arkansas, $16 (96pp) ISBN 978-1-55728-906-3

Svoboda's fifth collection of poems walks the borders where the personal and the political meet, and where ironic humor and foreboding overlap. Her contemporary America is both “finger-licking digital,” and a place where there are “soldiers in mother's hair.” In this book's first section, war is everywhere, from a lab in Tokyo where AIDS-infected blood was used for transfusions to “the cavities of your body.” Section two takes up notions of mistranslations, misunderstandings and missed opportunities: in one poem, “a man walks into a bra”; in another a son asks of a missing father, “Is he back or forth?” The final section takes up more personal subjects, as in a poem titled “To My Brother, on the Occasion of His Second Breakdown.” Throughout, Svoboda's poems are as haunting as they are funny, as pleasurable as they are powerful. (Sept.)