cover image My Love Is a Dead Arctic Explorer

My Love Is a Dead Arctic Explorer

Paige Ackerson-Kiely. Ahsahta (SPD, dist.), $17.50 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-934103-27-2

This collection of verse and prose poems revels in a kind of synesthesia in which varying environments are seen in terms of each other. “This Landscape of Forest” melds the claustrophobia of the home with the charms of the outdoors: “You are sitting at the computer, maybe paying bills. Your dark limbs laden with my favorite birds.” Seasons become bodies, which become bodies of water: “November, which is like waiting for a man to shut off the light and make his way to your body in the way one searches the bottom of a pool for a nickel.” Usually, though, Ackerson-Kiely’s voice is more raw. In “Anorgasmia,” she asks, “you know how if the ocean spread blue over this valley, that blue would just slay us?” Often, her poems explore entrapment and contain an elusive erotic ferocity: “She is all full up with his nightstand./ His little lamp makes her sick —/Turn it off, turn it off!” This vivid image returns in her penultimate poem, “Unwriting a Letter,” in which Ackerson-Keily (In No One’s Land) lingers with the “beaten-in shape of a body in snow.” Nature offers no comfort. (Mar.)