Borderline Fortune

Penguin Pr. Oct. 2021. 96p. ISBN 9780143136811. pap. $20. POETRY
This 2020 National Poetry Series–winning work marks Miller’s greatest success in the field to date. A writer on food and film as well as a poet, Miller has a style that borders on the gnomic; in this volume, which reads as polished extracts from a poetic journal forever in progress, brief lyric entries feel like commentaries on narratives of the present and the past that will never be fully disclosed. Miller acknowledges some debts and forebears in her epigraphs (Anne Sexton, Lucie Brock-Boido, Lucille Clifton, Rebecca Solnit), and the presence of others (Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Louise Gluck) can be felt as well. Miller’s interior world is a hard place, full of privations and negations (“Whatever you do, the wheels will break away”), but she has an ear, and as she returns to work the bitter material of her life and her ancestor’s lives, she finds an authentic poetry.
VERDICT For most readers of poetry, Miller will be a new and invigorating voice, fully conversant with the ambiguities of our present day.
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