Sunday, March 15, 2009

Patricia Smith's poetry collection, Blood Dazzler

If you want some stunning poems about Hurricane Katrina that are as finely crafted as they are haunting, then you need to read Patricia Smith's poetry collection Blood Dazzler. And really, any writer that can move so ably between received forms like the sestina to free verse forms deserves some attention.

I blab on about the book in my review for Feminist Review. I don't want to be one of those writers who posts links to her work -- isn't that just a tad masturbatory? -- but if you want to know more about why I enjoyed the collection, then feel free to click the link. Below is an excerpt of my review to give you a feel for the subject matter covered in Smith's poems (i.e. the lazy way to tell you what some of the poems are about).

"This book is more than a marker for the dead. The people in this book don’t die; they live on well past the rotting of their bodies. I dare you to read Smith’s poems about Luther B, a dog left tied up during Katrina, without feeling goose bumps. Smith allows everyone the chance to speak past the images that still haunt us. She writes about the stories we don’t always see or experience: Ethel Freeman, a woman whose body was left to rot in her wheelchair; the thirty-four bodies of the men and women left to drown in St. Rita’s Nursing Home; and the nameless who talk about what it’s like to leave one’s life behind."

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