Mead (The Usable Field) urgently explores environmental destruction in her fourth collection. The book’s first section, “That the Church of England Should Be Free,” alludes to the Magna Carta, signaling the collection’s political interests. Through Mead’s unique organization of these poems, a conversation is formed between the left and right page, the former always reserved for an italicized short lyric (a tercet and single line)—“The creation of want/ The creation of debt/ The creation of the toxic ponds// If they wave wave back”—while the latter expands on these themes: “Have mercy on us—/ someone. Anyone. Anyone who is watching./ Save up. Save us. (Big job.)” The plight of the natural world is understood through the human body: “The air is solids and non-solids./ The person is solids and non-solids:/ Solids and non-solids all the way down.” The author’s delicate, elliptical maneuvering of subjects amplifies the collection’s ecopoetic concerns: “Make way for seeing/ Make way for blindness/ Make way for the vision// Of sea caught in cove,” and later, “the seasons heave along is how/ the seasons are heaving.” Mead’s work invites us to listen and consider, “our hope/ for something beyond what we can/ plainly see—the poisoned planet poisoning.” (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014 Release date: 04/01/2014 Genre: Fiction
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