Erin Elizabeth Smith’s Down is immediately a delight. Refreshing in its take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the reader discovers here the odd world and new experience that Smith draws them “down” into. The fall that seems endless takes us into Tennessee, where “petals doodle lawns / like the drawings of girls” or where “grey squirrels / chase themselves into their trees.” This isn’t exactly Lewis Carroll surrealism, but the narrator of these poems takes us into her incantations and dreamscapes, where suddenly she looks at her spouse lying on the sofa and sees “a foreign // thing, a stammering king / made kitten in the shaking.”
Waking does not necessarily relieve the narrator, nor us. Rather, she writes, “I am still falling / through the slippery leaves / every bit of anorexic ice, / still waking like a child roused / in the backseat, unsure where I am / in the fragile, new dark.” And, like Alice, curiouser and curiouser, the trip down means we may rise up, that “it can heal us again.”
Stephen F. Austin University Press, 9781622889037, 80pp.
Publication Date: November 16, 2020
About the Author
ERIN ELIZABETH SMITH is the Creative Director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and the Managing Editor of Sundress Publications and The Wardrobe. She is the author of two full-length collections and the editor of two anthologies, Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity and Not Somewhere Else But Here: Contemporary Poems on Women and Place.