Tsunami vs the Fukishima 50

Lee Ann Roripaugh. Milkweed, $16 (95p) ISBN 978-1-57131-485-7
The fifth collection from Roripaugh (Dandarians) is dedicated to the survivors of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, a combined disaster that breached Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011. The Fukushima 50 were power plant employees doomed to radiation poisoning as they selflessly attempted to stop the leak, while the government repeated “diajobu,” all is fine. In one moving poem, an abused, orphaned girl pretends to be “gangster moon rabbit” to comfort herself. When she takes her grandmother oranges, they are, ironically, the “safe-to-eat kind/ from Hiroshima.” The tsunami makes repeated appearances in female guises. In “Emo Tsunami,” her manic, malevolent art is a “failed star’s self:/ a pogrom of beloveds/ a covey of towhees/ an escargatoire of sunflower, a yoke of artichokes/ a fluther of jellyfish,/ a bouquet of axalotls.” She is a ghost demon, Medusa, Dark Phoenix, or “a cryptic giver of gifts:/ all Joy Air Freshener’s/ diaspora of aerosol cans, a boy’s lucky soccer ball/ head-butted from the waves.” From origin tale to glossary, anime battle to leisure ocean cruise, “barbed wire that interns her” to “shoes that pinch” and “jeans that ride,” Roripaugh’s wave rises above tragedy and the shock of a real-life nightmare. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 03/13/2019
Release date: 03/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
Ebook - 978-1-57131-949-4
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