“a black confetti of crickets”

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These notes are part of my “read 100 poetry books in 12-ish months” effort. Far from an official review, they represent first impressions and provide some context for what I brought to the reading of the text.

14 of 100: every love story is an apocalypse story by Donna Vorreyer (2016, Sundress Publications)

Quick, personal thoughts:

  • Let me start by confessing title envy. I LOVE the title of this collection. I am infamously bad at naming things, including my own poems and manuscripts. This title is not only interesting but also successful (as a framing of the content).
  • These poems feel absolutely primal, and I believe it’s intentional. In the world at risk of ending (in this collection and, I’d argue, in our daily lives), love and sex fulfill basic needs, just like air, shelter, food, water. The language these poems speak reinforces that. It is both reassuring and unnerving.
  • Donna’s language in this collection is also truly imaginative, and the images it conjures are vivid and rich. The visuals that fill my head as a result of these poems are colorful, raw and textured.
  • If I haven’t said it recently, I’m eternally grateful for the poetry blogging community that helped to raise me both as a poet and as a literary citizen. I met Donna online during a particularly fertile time for that community, and I’ve continued to follow her work via social media. Soooo many poets from those days have found great success and continue to be extremely prolific. I’m still “emerging” (and that’s OK), but I’m proud to consider poets like Donna my friends and colleagues, and I cheer their accomplishments (this collection among them)!

Lines I want to remember:

  • “Hidden in the stalks, crickets sing. / I rub my thights together in bold / commiseration. A thousand ears / listen for answers that do not come. // … I cannot find my way through, / so I run in the other direction, gown / streaming above my head, a banner. / All that is left is my rustle, a black confetti / of crickets littering the sky in my wake.”
  • “Your orbits are erratic, strange parabolas of leaving / and returning”
  • “bored with windows / and eight kinds of anger”
  • “Night pokes its muzzle to nudge / the door ajar. It licks my jaw, / its pink tongue a promise of dawn”
  • “How young we were, / the smallest twinge / of love enough reason”
  • “Bright angel of the circling wolves, bless / their tongues, their teeth sharp as harpoons. // Do not shame them for their hunger, their / zodiac moods”
  • “The moon is herded / into a van and kidnapped. The river / is dry. I am alone. It is what I wanted. / But now I don’t want it. This is always / the way with me.”
  • “Night’s guillotine offers / no quick misery. It lowers its blade all too slow.”
  • “and god, there’s still that light / at the window, that fiery ball of light.”

What others have said:

  • from S. J. Stout at Up the Staircase: “Is this heaven? Purgatory? A wish, a daydream, a promise, a distant memory? Vorreyer may keep her secrets close, but the invitation is clear: eat your heart out.”
  • from Escape Into Life: “In these love poems, the “you” is sometimes the lover, sometimes the speaker addressing herself in the throes of separation, isolation, regret. The speaker is at times half-human, half-animal, feral in extremity. Yet always humanly aware that there is “no quick misery,” only a relentless one.”
  • from Pif Magazine: “Every Love Story was particularly riveting, braiding together the ecstasy and agony of a powerful―but ultimately doomed―love. There is a chronology to the work, but the poems can be read in any order. The language and imagery are stunning throughout elegiac verse.”

Where some of the poems from this collection live online:

Have you read this collection? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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