Dark Green

Emily Hunt. The Song Cave (SPD, dist.), $17.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-0-9884643-9-1

In this standout debut, Hunt establishes her talent not just for phrasing, but for sequencing her phrases in a way that allows them to shimmer together with a gentle, almost shy, euphoria: “We spoke of the morbid/ Sparks seemed to spread from it.” By throwing her poems open to “this chatting tin fate” and “the cold feathers it wears,” Hunt invites a whole encyclopedia of human emotions to flourish inside her work, and she wanders with grace through empathy, melancholy, loneliness, and curiosity. In one poem, she ventures one of the book’s several stunning insights into the dilemma of the self: “I sat in the safety of my age/ all the blanks in front of it,” she writes, “I saw my character would always watch me.” Elsewhere, in one of her powerful, short lyrics—which are suited essentially to their minimalism and do more than just add variety—Hunt writes, “I say what I believe/ and a tree falls through me.” This relationship between reality and surreality, between inner and outer worlds, is also the proving ground where the poet must find a way to live in the one world she’s been given; in Hunt’s work that struggle is beautiful, funny, painterly, and terrifying. [em](May) [/em]