Dialogues with Rising Tides

Copper Canyon. Apr. 2021. 96p. ISBN 9781556596155. pap. $16. POETRY
Few poets document our world with as much beauty and grace as Agodon (Hourglass Museum). In seven sections, Agodon’s new collection examines such issues through the lens of a speaker who often feels broken herself, approaching her subject tangentially. Only a few poems focus directly on the climate change hinted at in the title, though it’s a theme returned to often. Most poems center on a wife/mother making her way through a fractured life as she experiences many unexpected deaths, with two children gone young, one from choking on a balloon: “A degree in suicide? we swallowed it, / reloaded, / a master’s degree in dying.” Agodon has mastered the art of making each poem new through unexpected turns. Throughout, her love of life, in all its beauty and contradictions, offers a counterpoint to the massive challenges that lie ahead. “Till Death Shatters the Fabulous Stars” offers what could be the book’s premise: “I’m devoted / to the broken / clamshells / climate / cockleshells.” Agodon shows us why we must create a better world: “every day is also a miracle.”
VERDICT These stunning poems question what we as individuals can do to repair or at least survive our battered world. Highly recommended.
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