cover image Freud in Brooklyn

Freud in Brooklyn

Joanna Fuhrman. Hanging Loose Press, $13 (68pp) ISBN 978-1-882413-72-0

The prosy, likeable poems of this debut have the insouciance of comic verse: ""Blue Poem #6"" recalls Elaine Equi's sly panache, especially in its Zen-ish opening line: ""A woman in an `I am here' T-shirt says nothing""; the poem then opens out into terrifically managed serial declaratives. ""Piazza"" tries out a pop vernacular torques la Kleinzahler. Koch-like is Fuhrman's ""A History of Western Art,"" where Impressionists go hang-gliding and Byzantines play frisbee. The title poem reimagines Freud's very real trip to Coney Island (which he made during his single visit to the U.S. to give the famous Clark Lectures), but can't quite handle the material: ""First, the wolf man baring his teeth./ Then, Anna O. grinning./ Freud says `Come with me in my sleek new boat.'/ They say very sweetly `no.' "" Fuhrman's humor is most effective when grounded in everyday: the sun-illumined dandruff in ""Afterimage,"" the old woman straddling her purple Schwinn in ""Another Hypothetical Question Ignored."" The section of family poems called ""Shtickicsing with the Shtotics"" (or ""stooping to their level,"" a poem tells us) takes the New York Jewish family unit into its fifth 20th-century generation. The ""Personal Ad"" section shows the speaker too interested in life to stay depressed after a breakup: ""Now, raising the window, I squint to find/ the post where you used to lock your bicycle/ but get distracted by the iridescent beetles/ climbing the peeled ledge."" In Fuhrman's debut, cleverness of approach is no less charming than the plain detail. (July)