Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What I'm Reading: Lucky Wreck

It happened the way I'm sure publishers hope it will happen. I went to a panel at AWP and heard Ada Limón read from her forthcoming book Sharks in the Rivers (Milkweed, 2010). During the reading, I fell a little bit in love with her, the way readings can make that happen. Later, wandering the book fair, I found her name on a book and bought it. Lucky Wreck, which won the 2005 Autumn House Poetry Prize, has been on the top of the stack since I got back and now, blessed be to summer, I have time to read.

One of the things I admire about this book is
Limón's straight-forward voice, no punches pulled but still with a lyricism that draws me in. There are the usual wide-ranging human themes and little moments of hard-earned wisdom offered up as just that...take them for what they are worth, take them or not.

Of course, being from a prairie state, which means being from a place defined by wind, how could I not love a book whose first line is "We solved the problem of the wind" (from "First Lunch with Relative Stranger Mister You")?

Section Three, "The Spider Web" is an amazing crown of sonnets that just blew me away. The ability to sustain the formal elements and link the seven sonnets so intricately is mirrored in the extended metaphor of a spider working a web throughout. Some lines that stuck with me:

from sonnet 2
"As a child I remember knowing how to float
When sober was the wind and my body, the boat."

from sonnet 3
"It's not God, I tell you. It's my mother,
Though there is little difference between the two.
I'm convinced that together they're planning a coup."

from sonnet 7
"If I had my choice, I'd have a boat of my own,
The sails would be my skin, the bow my bones."

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