cover image Anxious Music

Anxious Music

April Ossmann, . . Four Way, $15.95 (52pp) ISBN 978-1-884800-81-8

The free verse of Ossman's debut moves through its erotic confessions, New England walks and household memories, in a voice remarkable for its confidence and fierceness: “I am the woman you should have married,” one poem concludes, “offering you another chance,” a “slick kiss landing firmly on your lips.” Ossman can also tone things down enough to present simple domestic details: “late and missed meals,/ Swiss chocolate, English tea and jam.” Such items hold places, or mark chapters, in the lives these articulate, welcoming poems describe: a “red glove in the road/ this morning” recalls good fortune in having experienced only “minor loss,” while the shapes of the trees in Maine, “the 'V'/ in my satin green pajamas,” a bass-guitar riff on the radio, “my first bikini brought to light” in a drawer, may all invoke romantic ups and downs—breakups, liaisons, vacations and further breakups, some apparently with the same man. The fluent results make Ossman at once an easy-to-like nature poet and a chronicler of risqué moments. Ossman serves as executive director for Alice James Books, and her style suggests long acquaintance with the conventions of intimate, autobiographical 21st-century verse and a daring all her own. (Nov.)