As Burning Leaves

Red Hen. Apr. 2017. 88p. ISBN 9781597090254. pap. $16.95. POETRY
"Wind moves the leaves across the water/ they do not gather," says an early poem in this 2015 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award winner, suggesting the collection's spare, precise, elided style. Yet Jesiolowski's concern is passion expressed (a decent amount of "fucking" is referenced) and suppressed: from letters dumped in a creek, "words that used to seduce me, that now wound me/ lift in ribbons of ink." Throughout, there's a sense of passionate love as meant to bridge the spaces between us and coming up short: "I move into another body/ that does not erase my own." A queer sensibility, with deft sexual blending, permeates the poems, which often fracture in form and syntax.
VERDICT Sometimes there's too much fracturing, and sometimes meaning gets slippery, but Jesiolowski has a fine grasp of craft and emotion.

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