cover image The Field

The Field

Robert Andrew Perez. Omnidawn, $11.95 trade paper (64p) ISBN 978-1-63243-029-8

Perez plays desire and its contingent emotions—ecstasy, obsession, anxiety—off of one another in this intimate debut collection, a lyrical portrait of 21st-century love, lovers, and loving. “My friends are writing poems for/about their kids, and here i am/ still writing about fucking guys and fucking losing guys and fucking/ loser guys,” writes Perez to open the book, later recognizing that “i am bound/ to attach import/ to a leftover ache/ that is a beck// & call: you/ there—the gondolier—/ the lovelier// of us.” The poems address the reader, romantic partners, and the possibilities of telling love stories through poetry’s ability to assemble moments of solitude into expanses of vacancy and longing. Some of the book’s best lines come when love is displaced from the speaker’s mind by distraction, disquiet, or depression. Life insists on entering through the most unlikely doors: an egg yolk, smoke and a keyboard, or the California land- and seascape. These objects and places pull readers out from the psychological torture of loneliness and into the physical realm where love happens, whatever its result. “This couch is/ no ferris wheel of love & the ferris/ wheel of love is no ferris wheel of/ love,” Perez writes. “However, we can agree that/ we experience moving in a circle as/ moving forward, at least.” (Oct.)