Univ. of Pittsburgh. 2013. 100p. ISBN 9780822962366. pap. $15.95. POETRY
Open this book, and you plunge into a maelstrom; Duhamel (Ka-Ching) unspools line after long line about a bitter divorce and its aftermath. (Given the rush of words, you believe it when she says, "I used to write poems in one sitting while he slept"). "How It Will End," the ominously titled opening poem, prefigures the break to come as the speaker and her husband watch a couple's quarrel from afar. The next poem announces "I can tell you when my husband [left],/ exactly six days later, on September 10th," and on the following page the neighbors are already gossiping—though their attention is soon taken by the larger tragedy of an old woman's suicide. While Duhamel leads us through the grubbiness of the breakup (the plundered bank account, for instance), the tone is more black comedy than self-pity ("I kept wanting my guy/ to take a cue from Madonna's Guy"). Some poems recall teenage sexual angst, mirroring the divorcée's newfound uncertainty; "Recession Commandments" grounds both speaker and reader in financially difficult times.
VERDICT A finely drawn if somewhat obsessive portrait for readers who like their poetry on the narrative side.
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