cover image Human Achievements

Human Achievements

Lauren Hunter. Birds LLC, $16 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-9914298-5-1

In her passionate debut collection, Hunter meditates on universal trials of the human experience, contending with rage, desire, and powerlessness. Alternating between verse lyrics and prose poems, she writes confessionally of everyday survival, suffocation in banality, longing for the past, and the performance of wellness. Many poems feature sense-heavy metaphors (“without two hands feel the world a bit further on fire and you have no hose and your mouth is dry you can climb with your knees”); others are more plainspoken narratives (“if I’m asleep, then I’m crying for the things I’ve lost; if I’m awake, I don’t know what they are”); and some blend those traits. Hunter displays an admirable lack of emotional restraint, though it can result in images that don’t quite work: “how about these waterfalls diluting the prairies. they say, well, stop crying. I’m impractical so I also begin blowing my nose.” Hunter excels when she conveys her thoughts with clarity while pursuing eccentric metaphors (“when the ufo crashed into our backyard pool and the other kids scattered/ but i pressed against the sliding glass door like/ and what like i’ve not chased boys around the cul-de-sac with knives”). Despite a few missteps, Hunter reveals an immense sensitivity and inner musicality that forecasts more good things to come. (May)