Love and I

Fanny Howe. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-64445-004-8
In this spare yet substantial book, Howe (Gone) continues her lifelong adventure in bewilderment. True to the poet’s established practice, sound is the internal force driving these poems: “Steps lowered and slimy// On a slip into the lagoon./ Ghoulish are the ghosts/ Of time past: ancestors/ With our same names.” Often the metaphysical is juxtaposed against the physical (“Soon the filmy forms take an animal turn”), while in the poet’s imagination, the conventional axes of time, place, and action converge, settle, and reform. “What if you think of time as a long and everlasting plain,” the speaker proposes. Wild geese “herd the future,” while distant pasts and immediate moments conflate: “Water was our first armor before our skin./ Then came the bristle of sunshine./ And a thickening of blood into oil/ Or syrup in the lower veins./ Covering up our prototypes.// Everything we saw, we became.” World history, personal memory, and voices sampled from years of attentive listening come together in a book that presents the “Dirty and divine.” Readers ready to suspend expectations about what and how poems mean will delight in the transformations happening in these pages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/11/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
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