cover image Love and Other Poems

Love and Other Poems

Alex Dimitrov. Copper Canyon, , $17 ISBN 978-1-55659-599-8

“Love is hard to account for,” writes Dimitrov (Together and by Ourselves) in his joyous and captivating third collection. These memorably voiced lyric poems find his speakers expressing love for things local and cosmic. Driven by unsatisfied appetites, “broke and lonely/ in Manhattan,” Dimitrov’s urbane, wistful speakers recall those of Frank O’ Hara (a muse invoked in the epigraph and several poems), transcribing city life through taxis, bars, clubs, and restaurants. The tension between connection and distance frequently finds humorous expression, as when a speaker observes how “kids race toy boats in the pond/ and the dogs are on leashes,/ tied to their humans and better behaved.” Meditations on humanity’s search for meaning are handled with wit and vulnerability, while the book’s final section, the 14-page “Poem Written in a Cab,” breaks the fourth wall in a captivating performance of selfhood (“I have never wanted to be myself./ What a ludicrous obligation!”). Ultimately, it’s the sensory that keeps people tethered, suggests Dimitrov: “Every time I feel close/ to understanding the world... I rise, attending to [the kettle]/ with annoyance and the pleasure/ of the unmade cup of tea.” In this affecting collection, his most fully achieved thus far, Dimitrov provides the reader with a needed celebration of pleasures. (Feb.)