cover image Sentences and Rain

Sentences and Rain

Elaine Equi. Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (100p) ISBN 978-1-56689-421-0

Equi (Click and Clone) relishes the stark, overlooked beauty of the quotidian in her curious, winding, fanciful 13th collection. The book is a “slinky cylinder of spirals/ leading to an escape hatch in the sky,” its circuitous and plainspoken poems endlessly unfolding upon an expansive plane of strange new ideas and images. Equi makes room for “things both ordinary/ and sublime,” and as “one thing is always in the process// of overtaking another,” moments of joy await each twinge of sadness. Her “carefree, short-sleeved/ sorrow” may be the unavoidable result of being so attuned to the totality of her surroundings, but there is equal evidence of a steadfast love for the world, particularly “the excess of the story—that which it cannot contain.” In an effort to catalogue everything, Equi works on the “repositioning/ of the old line,” hoping that the “New compartments created” will help adequately capture these multifarious experiences. While some poems feel like experiments that don’t quite work, the majority possess that quintessential Equian magic and epigrammatic concision: “Soothing because they put you/ someplace impossible to locate.” Equi’s imagery and turns of phrase are strong as ever, and readers will be swept away in the deluge, able to “witness the Rapture/ and still make it home in time for dinner.” [em](Oct.) [/em]