It Blows You Hollow
With these dark, triumphant poems, Diane Seuss takes us on a journey through the landscape of the soul––and it’s a world full of beauty and violence in equal parts. Relentless and incantatory, these poems are charged with an almost religious intensity as Seuss looks for God’s presence in nature and sexuality. Again and again the poet confronts whatever it is that guides us through a life that is sensuous, yet exacting in its terrible cost.
Nothing is solved by the end of this book, but much is gained as the quest itself has become a victory of perfectly pitched and furious language. God’s still hidden away, but by now the natural world has evolved to replace the absence Seuss feels. In the book’s erotically charged universe, one paradoxically begins to feel a calm settle over the burned-up panorama of the soul. It Blows You Hollow is a book, rare these days, that feels as if it had to be written. Diane Seuss goes for broke.
“Here’s what I’ve been waiting for: Diane Seuss-Brakeman’s fresh, deep-digging poems, the rich texture of detail and metaphor, and under the images ––exuberance, tenacity, loss. For me, the God poems offer a search, a wrestling as bold and intense as any since G. M. Hopkins. Each poem has its own voice––cajoling, taunting, despairing––but each calls out for some lively presence in the world: I want a direct God-hit,/no shrapnel. In other words, love,/I walk this dark minefield/searching for you.”
“It Blows You Hollow is Seuss-Brakeman’s chronicle of edgy memories, private sorrows, charged darkness; of scarcities, plenitude and dangers. These sensual and irreverent poems erupt with unexpected turns of language at once elegant and fierce. Reading them made the back hairs of my neck bristle in recognition that real poetry is going on here. Hers is a gift of metaphoric daring and wit that dazzles and consoles with élan, vital and probing truth.”
“Her poems consistently and accurately point, like magic compasses, to the familiar within the unfamiliar as well as the unfamiliar in the familiar.”
—Vince Gotera, North American Review
Diane Seuss is Writer-in-Residence at Kalamazoo College. Her poems have been anthologized in Sweeping Beauty: Contemporary Women Poets Do Housework (2005), Are You Experienced? Baby Boom Poets at Midlife (2003), and Boomer Girls: Poems by Women from the Baby Boom Generation (1999), all from the University of Iowa Press. Seuss’s work has recently appeared in The North American Review, Indiana Review, Cimarron Review, and The Georgia Review. Her second book, Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, won the 2009 Juniper Prize in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts Press.