cover image Rise in the Fall

Rise in the Fall

Ana Božicˇevic´. Birds LLC (SPD, dist.), $18 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-0-9826177-8-6

Božicˇevic´’s determination to expose the unsettling truths of her own desire—her own materialism, sexuality, and shame—makes for a collection that is all the more stunning for its willingness to place its author between the crosshairs of her poems. The same voice that dallies with the thought that “God is a daffodil/ up on a greening hill” is always quick to lambast and judge itself by reminding that “this is the whitest shit/ I’ve ever written.” The guilt in these poems is the guilt of the American consumer (née Croatian émigré) in conflict with her ego amidst political turmoil. “She wants pearls and she wants revolution,” Božicˇevic´ writes in a poem for Occupy Wall Street. This outrage at the self-canceling promises of the American dream is seldom as riotous and complex as it is Božicˇevic´’s voice, but she refuses to do her audience the disservice of trying to hide behind “the speaker” in her work. “Let there be no air,” she writes in “Casual Elegy for Luka Skracˇic´,” “between what I say and what you hear.” Even love, which for safer poets is the enduring bulwark against the world’s injustice, is subject to a kind of apocalyptic unfulfillment in Božicˇevic´’s world. She knows she can’t participate in love after she dies, and yet she demands to know how “people make love when you’re dead.” She knows she has to die herself, but she needs you to “please love me/ while there’s still days.” (June)