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Poetry. Claire Wahmanholm's book REDMOUTH is grief-stricken. But how does the poet make grief so beautiful? Who knew the language of grief could be stricken itself with the language of beauty? Here the deer have disappeared but when the speaker closes her eyes, she 'can see them / licking the coats of their fawns, anchoring / their spots to their fur to their bodies to the forest floor.' There's simply no doubt that Wahmanholm is a poet because language is the center of all of her work, whether it is describing a decayed world where 'mountains have unraveled into sand' to the stripping away and lifting out of language in the equally stunning erasures sprinkled throughout this book. Yes, darkness razors across these poems, but what comes out of the experience of reading is beauty. I don't know many poets today who can write such beauty into such devastation: 'The children's hair lies dewy on the hillocks of their heads / until shreds like cornsilk come off in the breeze.' Gorgeously rendered, devastatingly stunning. Victoria Chang.
Tinderbox Editions, 9781943981144, 92pp.
Publication Date: October 29, 2019