cover image Strong Feather

Strong Feather

Jennifer Reeser. Able Muse, $21.95 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-77349-088-5

Reeser’s layered latest (after Indigenous: Poems) considers her Native American heritage in poems that demonstrate a powerful and expansive command of form. Much of this work explores her mixed-race identity and indigenous history, combining personal poems with Cherokee tales in an effort to “redo the history once done.” The feather provides an apt metaphor for the fragile yet beautiful humanity that Reeser renders, despite “all the grief we wear.” The opening poem, “Strong Feather,” describes “one petite feather. Its hollow ‘hilt’/ Pointing toward me, is curved and long,/ Slightly translucent, and at a tilt./ How has this feather stayed so strong?” Reeser’s speakers assume the voice of many historical indigenous figures, as well as a character, Strong Feather, who is compared to a “wounded, wizened bird.” Strong Feather invites the reader to look at the world again, to wonder about age-old questions, “Why should you take by force what’s yours through love?” and apply their lessons. This excellent collection is full of artistry and meaning. (Mar.)