Theater Of Animals

Early in these pages Stockwell tells us that “Calder knew everything about animals,” and we are reminded of that artist’s circus, his theater of animals. Stockwell’s own theater-her home and family-is as memorable. These poems offer stone-hard and sad glimpses at living. Father is “a gray man/there’s mold in his teacup”; mothers “wait/like obelisks above the hill,/the long years weighing them.” These poems leap from real to impressionistic, marvelous in their language and shored up by unforgettable images that cut into the domestic theater to find the wilderness there. “You’ve touched someone whose heart/is such a small dish, it overturned.” These intelligent, sensual poems look frankly at the malfunctions of family, the unrelenting if thoughtless abuse, and the redemptive solace that comes with love. Dark but powerful, this collection is not for the weak of heart, though many will find here much worth their while. Recommended for most poetry collections.

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