cover image Control Bird Alt Delete

Control Bird Alt Delete

Alexandria Peary. Univ. of Iowa, $19 trade paper (85p) ISBN 978-1-60938-245-2

In this frenetic third collection, Peary (Lid to the Shadow) welcomes everything, including the kitchen sink and the refrigerator, into her poems. Fixing an obsessive eye on lilacs, birdsong, and cellar hole after cellar hole, Peary sifts through the dross—and the quirky speech—of contemporary life without ever leaving the comforts and confines of her own noisy mind. “I take the letter e out of all the lilacs,” she writes, “along with any parts that occur in summer/ from a paperback novel that I pull from a swan-shaped basket/ for magazines found at Goodwill.” Despite her sinewy bounds from clause to clause and seemingly endless stockpile of prickly American idioms, Peary often relies on alliteration and whimsy to propel her poems forward in ways that render certain poems opaque beyond the pleasantries of their sound. One wonders if Peary doesn’t know and welcome this herself, as when she ends “Flora and Fauna” by telling us “[t]he song is like a hard white unripe strawberry.” On the occasions when Peary pushes her poems into a place where technological paranoia and modern ennui are irrevocably linked in the ways we experience them today, such flourishes of insight into the messier aspects of human nature stand tall beside sonic fireworks. (Apr.)