POETRY

Thaw

Univ. of Georgia. Sept. 2017. 96p. ISBN 9780820351315. pap. $19.95. POETRY
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In her debut collection, Dingman deftly parallels intimate sorrow with the brutal realities of rural poverty and violence. Throughout, she's quietly harrowing as she speaks of losing a mother ("I had/ a mother then. I held the wind/ in my throat like a song") and a father ("He's// a terrible dream"), of children succumbing to a fatal disease ("Their mothers/ wait years for a chest to flutter// closed") and the crushing, troubled passions of couples ("tongues/ on fire, two people dancing/ to our own screams"). The backdrop is equally unsettling: there's a "starved town" and "only mountains, snow circling our house/ like crows' wings." The opening poem, about a hunting accident, shows "how a bullet/ can enter so quietly as to leave/ a skull almost intact."
VERDICT Dingman sets her scenes well, with the tough rhythms of life coming through, and her excellent work will be appreciated by a range of readers.

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