The Clearing

Allison Adair. Milkweed, $22 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-57131-514-4
Adair considers in her imaginative debut the intersection of human and animal life, closely examining the experience of womanhood. The nonhuman subjects of the poems are often vaguely menacing, though presented in a way that inspires awe rather than fear. There is, for instance, the unforgettable image of “the earwig/ who, for the third day now, waits in your phone’s receiver,/ pincers sharpening on the stone of their own mercy.” Elsewhere, another insect fantasizes about a recently visited flower: “the wasp who shutters the hive of its compound eyes just to live there, again, in that bloomy velvet.” Adair’s musical language and vivid imagery begs to be read aloud: “this year the scrawny splinters of winter refuse spring’s reckless flesh.” The complexities (and indignities) of being a wife, mother, and person are analyzed in poems like “As I Near Forty I Think of You Then,” in which the speaker views her own mother with greater empathy: “Years my father spent/ quoting the Bible as you swept and stewed, saved,/ let out hems. While we kicked and bickered/ your thirties away.” Like Grimms’ fairy tales, Adair’s poems are dark without being bleak, hopeless, or disturbing. Readers will find the collection’s lush language and provocative imagery powerfully resonant. (June)
Reviewed on : 06/10/2020
Release date: 06/01/2020
Genre: Poetry
Open Ebook - 978-1-57131-740-7
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