cover image Wonder and Wrath

Wonder and Wrath

A.M. Juster. Paul Dry, $14.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-58988-149-5

The meditative 10th book from poet and translator Juster closely considers contemporary life and mortality, as well as the whimsical and unexpected. These poems imagine the characters of A Midsummer Night’s Dream hungover, fruit flies drunk on Riesling, and “A Kay Ryan Fanboy Poem,” but they also engage with the threat of tumors, and the difficulties of mourning the dead. Juster’s images are vivid and precise. In “I Sit Half-Naked,” the speaker contemplates depression—physical, economic, tropical—the title opening into a stark image: “with my socks still on, my gown half-open/ because this teaching hospital believes/ that dignity disrupts efficiency.” Juster’s poems are textured with rhyme and images that find correlatives between manmade threats and the natural world. In “Surveillance,” jays “return to eye/ our sparrows’ young... They dive and veer,/ and rise to rest/ on splintered pickets.” The section “Other” features a number of translations, including of East African proverbs from the Oromo language, and the French of Rimbaud. The eclectic variety of subjects is well matched by Juster’s range of styles and modes. (Sept.)