cover image Leprosarium


Lise Goett. Tupelo, $16.95 trade paper (86p) ISBN 978-1-946482-03-7

A chorus of variously injured and ill pilgrims seek solace and God, finding neither, in this intricate but uneven new collection from Goett, the follow-up to her 2002 debut Waiting for the Paraclete. In these pages life is “a fever in which we sweat/ the virus of indifference out,” and the poems too wring out indifference through heightened diction and torqued syntax. The result is often wonderful, sometimes overly strained; individual poems stand out more than the collection as a whole. Goett continuously seeks to name despair in order to move toward a more intimate relationship with the self and the world. “Every era has its St. Prassede wringing her bloody sponge,” Goett writes. “When did it become/ our nature to help the tyrant to survive?” The poems struggle to understand an ongoing history of multifaceted oppression through relentless regular stanzas and her frequent investigations into the canon of Western visual art. Goett knows how to make her readers squirm, and when she’s at her linguistically contorted best she offers complex understandings of the ways pain, disillusionment, and hope intersect. (Jan.)