POETRY

House of McQueen

Four Way. Mar. 2018. 68p. ISBN 9781945588112. pap. $15.95. POETRY
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Readers opening this book without introduction may be puzzled by lines like "When staggering down the runaway wearing tartan over torn lace" or "Stained red medical slides layer vertically on sleeveless sheath," but all become clear with the understanding that this winner of the Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry is a meditation in verse on daring designer Alexander McQueen. Wallace shows us the sheer physicality of the work ("I think with my bare hands") while capturing creativity in the act. "The world is not a mirror" but something actively envisioned, and "maybe body's true/ Beauty & its soothing filth" is what we, like McQueen, should seek. The lines can be opaque and twisty, but the poems always land on their feet.
VERDICT With it skittering language, not for your average fashionista, but serious readers will find rich rewards.

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