cover image Want for Lion

Want for Lion

Paige Taggart. Trembling Pillow (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-9887257-5-1

Restless and relentlessly inventive, Taggart's debut collection oscillates between moments of self-consciousness, confession, and surrealism as "Words beat against the jar, wings, almost to blame." The poems display her finely tuned ear for the music of language; like variations on a theme, the lines chew on recurring images, playing with their associations. In "Is Land," for instance, the "island" is differentiated from the "mainland," such that "the mainland sort of has a dictatorship/ and the dictatorship is inherently evil/ it's evil because that's what people think of/ when they think of the word dictator." Though certain themes of longing, lost love, and past traumas tend to recur, each poem is guided by its own internal logic%E2%80%94sometimes elliptical but never obtuse%E2%80%94and it is in the moments of direct address that the work is at its most evocative and affecting. "What are you looking for," asks a voice in a section of "To Talk Its Way Out of Me," before proposing "moxie, hubcap,/ the spiraling of time dying inside of us." That voice continues, "forget all about me, I'm just here/ to guide you, I really want to make you feel better about your life." Taggart masterfully juxtaposes the strange, mundane, and magical, carving out space for her lively, contemporary voice. (Apr.)