Trailer Trash

July Westhale. Kore, $16.95 trade paper (76p) ISBN 978-1-888553-94-9
Westhale, author of the children’s book Occasionally Accurate Science, confronts rural childhood, poverty, family, gender, and love in a debut of deadpan lyrics that originate from a kind of centerless place whose residents are “nothing/ but a thumbprint on a pages of words, written/ by giants.” She sidesteps her title to flare out from childhood into adolescence, through the stories of family members and friends, and into the memories and realizations of adulthood: “When I woke up, I couldn’t tell which of my sisters I’d become./ We smelled of eggs, and I broke us by leaving the trailer.” Westhale’s speaker recounts the aesthetics of poverty (“What a dump/ the inspector says. Our homes are a tin crown/ of sonnets, light upon them even in night”) in a space where grandmothers tell Depression-era stories, future lovers are fathomed out of dirty ponds, and “Amazing Grace” is played on the “common saw.” The speaker also wonders whether the love she has found in adulthood is “company enough.” Taking stock of the markers of gender and class, Westhale examines these intersections and the ways they leave a deep imprint on a person: “There ought to be a word/ a word for recognizing/ how memory is tidal,/ how memory comes back/ back into cycle.” (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
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