Upcoming Readings

At the Richard Hugo House: "Roots and Writers"

Crab Creek Review presents an evening of poetry and prose.

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007, 7:00 PM

And at Open Books: A Poem Emporium

Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 07:30 PM

Furious Lullaby, Oliver de la Paz's second volume ($15.95 Southern Illinois) is richly sensual yet etched by a sharp reckoning with loss. The collection includes a number of versions of the aubade, a poem that greets the dawn but can also serve as a wistful acknowledgement of the parting of lovers at daybreak. The new day brings both a beginning and an end -- "We are gathered back into the things of this world / and turn away from the sore-red sun, moved / to deny who we will be when we are awakened." Mysterious and resonant, the poems pulse with light and shadow, revealing not so much a narrative but an intensity of feeling, a questing of the mind, a longing in the body -- "Uncertain where the glare is from, I stare / and stare."

Aimee Nezhukumatathil's second collection, At the Drive-In Volcano ($16.95 Tupelo), can be as vivid as a lava flow and as cool and keen-edged as obsidian, sometimes in the same poem. The varied world is a presence in her work, certainly the Philippines and India, the lands of her parents, but also Austria, New Orleans, St. Lucia, a bus station in the Midwest. Perhaps most vivid is the landscape of love, with its smooth and rocky terrain. "I will curl around you like / a pilot shrimp and you will wonder / where all this sand is coming from." Direct in tone and sentiment, her work is laced with humor -- "The honeymoon is over / and we find a dead lizard / in our luggage," and pragmatically hopeful -- "Even in this darkness / there is so much light."

Oliver de la Paz