$16.00 paper | 104 pages
Publication Date: October 2021
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“‘You are not alone,’ writes the poet on her dedication page. That beautiful assurance is addressed in particular to ‘those who are struggling with mental illness,’ but it is something, these poems convince us, that each and every one of us may take to heart. So perfectly does Metsker render a mind under pressure—from a punishing surfeit of stimuli, obsessive thoughts, proliferating options in a world of impediment—that, paradoxically, we are deeply comforted. Logic—and its torqued economies—do the work we normally assign to images: ‘I scour the obituaries, but they have no specific plans for me.’ The images themselves are crystalline: ‘The sugar in the sugar bowl hardens into a rock to represent one idea of patience.’ I am profoundly grateful for this marvelous book. On page after page, it demonstrates how intelligence, compassion, and poetry can triumph over chaos.”
“In her exploration of mental illness, Metsker reminds me that poets are natural chroniclers of the line between a mind’s inventiveness and its unmooring. For a poem to function, the figurative has to feel real. Poems that draw us into their irrationalities can allow us to reach more rational states and understandings. While in poetry there is often this leaving sense and coming back to it, with mental illness, there is a similar, more severe leaving but not always a return. ‘Tomorrow will be another story, another pause by the window that could turn into a lifetime wearing cinched jackets.’ Just the opposite of a straight jacket, this book reads as a liberation from the fear that a familiar self, once lost, cannot be regained. While it’s ‘hard to stick a landing in sand,’ to find a way to sense when sense has been taken away, Metsker has done just that.”
Jennifer Metsker is writing coordinator at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. Her poetry has been featured in Gulf Coast, the Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly, The Journal, Rhino, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cream City Review, and the BBC Radio show Short Cuts. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.