NONFICTION

Perennial

Coffee House. Aug. 2018. 75p. ISBN 9781566895170. pap. $16.95. POETRY
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OrangeReviewStarIf a book of poems can be described as a page-turner, this volume qualifies. Based on the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 and its aftermath, an event that has been repeated countless times since, these poems are positioned to include not only the killers and their victims but the author herself as a young girl realizing the tenuous nature of life. Forsythe starts at the beginning, her tone becoming more ominous almost immediately. "It started with two births/ as quiet as pinpricks…" and continues "& after the hospital,/ they went home/ & lived in their/ mountains which/ were supposed/ to be merciful/ but the air up there/ tore its own breath away." Written in free verse, with a sparseness of punctuation that propels them forward, these pieces have the inevitability of the perennial flowers that return in spring.
VERDICT The columbine, a perennial, is said to look like an eagle's claw or five doves huddled together. Both are apt definitions fitting this fine debut collection.

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