Every day for the entire duration of the National Poetry Month, I will try to post short write-ups about poetry books that I like.
Post for April 1 is about the fantastic book by Peg Duthie.
Author: Peg Duthie
Publisher: Upper Rubber Boot Books
To buy from Amazon
Measured Extravagance is a refreshing blend of esoteric facts, dark humor, and nostalgia. We start with a striking cover that may be suggestive of how we can conjure something organic -- like feathers from an Erlenmeyer flask.
What I admire most about this book is Peg Duthie’s masterful treatment of highly politicized topics (such as the political inclinations of well-known scientists) into a non-politically-correct lattice. “A Particular Truth—1941” is a fine example. Its thematic kin is the unforgettable series of poems by John Canaday here.
“Devotion” is remarkably tender:
perfuming the hands of his wife as she strokes
the dreaming cat.
In “Deep and Crisp and Even,” Duthie talks about the unruly “language of desserts” where
We love the one slice too many, the body's
sleepy struggle to house so much
In "Gift Shop, St. Peter in Gallicantu, Jerusalem," Duthie speaks of the energy of material things and how they define us:
Who knows what happens next, to the bags--
too small for utility, too strange for luxury--
do they languish for years in kitchen drawers
or become the knapsacks of dolls?
My most favorite piece in this engrossing collection is “She Says, Follow the Graves.” It successfully weaves mythical elements and the quest for eternal life. It is capped by a powerful closing line.
Here are the emotionally jarring opening lines of “She Says, Follow the Graves.”
There are special hollows for the unmended: the unclosable
wound, the irreparably scarred Queen of Spades
worn out from too many unspeakable tricks.
Measured Extravagance delivers. What a gorgeous collection!
Meditations of a Beast
Age of Blight
A Roomful of Machines
We Bury the Landscape