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Om California Sorrow
In this exceptional new collection, acclaimed poet Mary Kinzie opens her attention to the landscapes of the earth. Her poems of richly varied line lengths develop phrases at the syncopated pace of the observing mind: Slag and synthesis and traveling fire / so many ways the groundwaves of distortion / pulse / through bedrock traffic and the carbon chain she writes in the opening poem, The Water-brooks. Here, and throughout, her reflection on the natural world embraces the damages of time to which we can bear only partial witness but to which the human memory is bound. In the collections title poem, Kinzie goes on to explore her own romantic griefs alongside the adventures of T. S. Eliot, inadvertently working on a suntan as he tours the desert in the roadster of his American girlfriend, whose heart he will break. Kinzies conviction that sorrow, too, is a form of passion allows her to lift poems from shattered thoughts and long-ago losses, at times blending prose and verse in a combustible mixture. Determined not to prettify but still expressing fresh wonder at the beauty we stumble across in spite of our shortcomings, Kinzie delivers her bravest work yet in these new poems.O God invisible as airMy tears have been my meatsweetbecause no noxious thing runs with themonlyfragrant navet of the reflective midday when bank herb and wood flower and water from the poolcan best be gatheredalso the knowledgethat these gifts are tenuous and that the mouth and the harpmight soon be strange to play