Our Lady of Not Asking Why

New Issues: Western Michigan Univ. Apr. 2017. 78p. ISBN 9781936970483. pap. $16. POETRY
Kampa opens her New Issues Poetry Prize winner with a pummeling, propulsive description of the heart, "not its four chambers, high-beamed atriums" but as "spooked-horse," "runaway," and nakedly hopeful. That sensibility, that sense of life defined by want, carries throughout this accomplished volume, which veers between intimate, sometimes awkward scenes of family and childhood and hot, difficult, desperately desired and disappointing love. As she explains, "The tent/ his bones made—pitched/ above me—was mostly/ just that. Quick-stitched distance," and while later she declares, "How little/ love is. How worth everything," one feels immediately how ripped up she can feel. Emotion matters on every level here. The knifing of several horses leaves her wondering "what pain is for…./ I mean its afterache: My sister's face/ as she's legged up to the saddle. Her woundedness/ imagining theirs."
VERDICT Kampa's urge to feel, to will herself into others' being, is a gift that will carry her far.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing