God of Nothingness

Mark Wunderlich. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-64445-042-0
The superb fourth collection from Wunderlich (The Earth Avails) disarms with its directness, humor, and pathos. The book is divided into four parts and made up of mostly one- and two-page poems, a handful of which are inspired by paintings, and several prose poems. In “Haunted House,” he recalls the renovation of a property in vivid, precise lines full of arresting details: “We tore up a floor to uncover a floor,// sanded tulip poplar to a sheen. I let/ the others unhouse the rat snake/ muscled around the boiler pipes downstairs.” Wunderlich envies the “sublingual exchange” of animals (the cat is “unburdened by the need// to assign language”). In horses, he observes “the vexing condition of their indifference to me/ as it taught me a sharp lesson/ about the harder arrangements of affection,/ it being possible to love another being with one’s fullest self,/ and see how that love could be absorbed,/ lived with, accepted even—and not have that feeling returned.” In “First, Chill,” he writes of secretly admiring “the first hard frost// killing the garden, putting an end/ to its many failures.” Throughout, the moving struggle between the desire for connection with the living and the “bruise” of the ghosts of those who have died rises off the page. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 12/17/2020
Release date: 01/12/2021
Genre: Poetry
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X