Space Struck

Paige Lewis. Sarabande, $15.95 trade paper (84p) ISBN 978-1-946448-45-3
“Give me more time// and I’m sure I could make this funny,” Lewis states in this vibrant debut collection, an exquisite feast of the brutal and the irreverent presented by a modern voice. Lewis writes to capture apprehension and urgency: “I’m/ the vice president of panic, and the president is/ missing,” and “most of what I see, I see through the gaps/ in my fingers,” as well as to broadcast love and vulnerability from an unstable world, “like a pilot turning off her engines midflight/ to listen for rain on wings.” Here, the unfathomable is rendered plausible as birdwatchers invade the poet’s home to see the last ivory-billed woodpecker, demanding “postcards/ and T-shirts,” and “an avian-themed carousel.” Lewis receives visits from God and St. Francis, is sassed by God’s secretary, and harbors ghosts between their teeth. They observe tiny men on their beloved’s eyes, musing, “when you press your palms/ against your eyes, do they see/ the sparks of light and create new/ names for stars?” Like the natural environment that they often reference, Lewis’s poems are sincere, strange and vulnerable, a combination that makes this work both fragile and vital. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/17/2019
Genre: Poetry
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