Orlando

Sandra Simonds. Wave, $18 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-940696-60-7
Invoking Orlando as a place, muse, and former lover, Simonds (Further Problems with Pleasure) lays bare how “time moves/ even the worst stories forward.” The two long poems that compose the book feel vast in scope even as they obsess over minutiae, making grand statements (“I want to be left alone to love my fantasy”) and reliving memories in extreme close-up (“the weather/ on my phone still set to your 94 degrees, I count each degree like a droplet of blood”). Simonds employs her signature breathless momentum to great advantage, deciphering what connects people and how those connections can keep a person going even against his or her will. She entwines recollections of an unresolved relationship and the multifarious abuses of love with notions of the precarity of the present. But this is not a sob story; the poems exhibit self-awareness as they shift forward at furious speed “like the one remaining heroine/ of the first poem jumping/ into the next one a fire pouring/ from a Cadillac door a heart engulfed in flame/ on the way to Orlando.” The speaker also calls upon a dark humor: “When people say, ‘I’m so sorry that happened to you,’/ I feel a corporate terror.” Simonds delivers an affecting collection that both befits and transcends its namesake city. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
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