Love, an Index

Rebecca Lindenberg. McSweeney’s, $18 (112p) ISBN 978-1-936365-79-1
The whole of Lindenberg’s debut is her memorial to her late husband, the widely admired poet Craig Arnold (Made Flesh), who disappeared while hiking around a Japanese volcano in 2009. Unified by its passion and looks back at an exemplary and an exceptional romance, the volume avoids monotony through the forms that Lindenberg adopts or invents. Two prose poems are called “Status Update”—one of them says, “Rebecca Lindenberg has joined the group ‘It All Seems So Simple Now, In the Aftermath of This Consciousness-Altering Tragedy.’ ” Sparse free verse recalls travel together, or else echoes Sappho’s monodies: “Hush, hush, heart-monster—// I’m varnishing/ the bone-ladder.// Don’t worry, he’ll be back// any minute now.” Literal memories (some involving Arnold’s teenage son) balance out lyrical spells, and terse forms balance profuse ones, in this book that amounts to a prolonged keening, a transparent if information-rich lament. The long title poem presents itself as an index (“TELEPHONE/ bill, all those phone calls... TELEPHONE mobile, for so long you refused to have one... TORREY, Utah”): it’s more like an essay, less lyrical, than the rest, and many readers will go there first. The volume is also the first in the new poetry series from McSweeney’s Books. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
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