Sometimes We’re All Living in a Foreign Country

Rebecca Morgan Frank. Carnegie Mellon Univ., $15.95 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-0-88748-625-8
Frank (The Spokes of Venus), spellbinds in this shrewd collection about intimacy, salvation, and the rustic dilapidation of the American South. She writes as a curious survivor of hardship and loss with a newfound sense of wonderment in her surroundings: “I thought I knew a little about small southern towns—/ what it meant to leave to live./ Now every direction takes me to a foreign land.” Consistently clever in her allusions, Frank conveys intimacy through hard science, writing, “It’s been billions// of years since the asteroid hit/ the moon: clearly some// magnetic fields can be sustained.” She addresses the human experience both as an individual and within society, touching on political subjects such as poverty and bearing arms, and describing both the decay of physical spaces and the insidious decay of the self: “It will swallow you,/ that detail of your life. So petty// and ravenous.” Frank characterizes the essence of salvation, on the other hand, as otherworldly composure: “To feel that light, the flight/ of everything. To float up like a balloon filled/ with someone else’s breath.” Frank writes as a kindred spirit to readers versed in the ambivalence of love, the quest for isolated contentment, and the drive to overcome the dark matter of one’s past. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/18/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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