In her third collection, Simonds (Mother Was a Tragic Girl) takes on the venerable form and builds houses for memory in 14 lines. Though the collection’s title implies an orderliness or predictability, Simonds’ sonnets are uncaged, snarling, rooting creatures, ferreting about the mind like it’s a shoebox of memorabilia. These sonnets execute that mysterious task which only poems can: expose the connective roots of memories, objects, and beings, despite how dissonant the universe can feel: “The surface must be tended to/ like farmland underneath mountains that dissolve/ and erode, leaving their minerals in our bone.” Simonds’s lines twist like DNA strands, the sequence coded yet the result unpredictable: “In your sonic/ boom sonnet, spaniel and dachshund will howl/ allele spirals until they breed dumb or smart, medium/ or three-legged pigeon with woof.” She contends with being one life amongst the millions of lives differentiated simply by place, time, and sex: the teenager hanging menus on neighbors’ doorknobs; a “well-respected PTA dad”; Tom Petty picking up a prescription at his dentist’s office. Simonds playfully and powerfully writes in the recognition of every attempt at self-preservation, “as if there were a way to shield/ oneself from the messy galaxy of the human heart.” (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/15/2014 Release date: 11/01/2014 Genre: Fiction
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