Dragging Anchor

Keri Marinda Smith. Hanging Loose, $18 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-1-934909-55-3
Born in South Africa and raised in Florida, Smith debuts with a solid, plainspoken collection about youth, loss, and the experiences that form one’s identity. Her work traverses various trials and tribulations: the death and illnesses of loved ones; the loss of relationships, youth, and freedom; and such quotidian dramas as overcoming the “panic and hesitation” of deciding “between plain and everything” bagels. Smith reminisces on many positive memories, including first tastes of rebellion, love, and musical ecstacy: “I remember listening to the Ramones in my small speakers alone in my room and feeling like my body was making the music.” Though these are openly sentimental and personally detailed reveries, Smith often leaves out the emotional nuances necessary to distinguish her coming-of-age from that of any other idealistic renegade. This results in the execution of a number of heartfelt, yet banal narratives. Nevertheless, the collection features many astute moments in which Smith dissects the shifts in perception that come with age: “which is to say// not bad at all just lonely/ then when I figured out// I didn’t have to be/ well then// I didn’t have to sneak around/ all the doors opened on their own.” Despite its pedestrian moments, Smith’s modest and unapologetic journal of nostalgia is a source of revelatory insights on finding oneself. (June)
Reviewed on: 09/03/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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