Event Horizon

Copper Canyon. May 2022. 112p. ISBN 9781556596438. pap. $16. POETRY
In this study of a woman in midlife, the Kate Tufts Discovery–winning Marvin (Fragment of the Head of a Queen) closely observes the everyday, capturing moments we tend to walk past (or choose to forget) and drilling down to their essence, though her language remains resolutely conversational and plainspoken. “I’m always hauling the trash cans// out to the end of the drive, and at this/ point in my life I just look like an old/ woman to people who drive by,” she confides, “which/ is better I guess than being harassed.” Elsewhere, she talks about the long road of motherhood (“for years, she spared me from my own self-interest,” says the poet of her daughter), domestic violence against women (“You are yet another woman who thought she had/ to protect her husband more than herself”), the pain of losing someone (meeting a ghost should have been “grandiflorous,” but that was just “a fancy/ fashioned from the idiocy of loneliness”), even walking the dog, who will never betray her. Portraits of women who did betray her—the high-class Manhattanite who indulged her as lowly Staten Island confidante; the “dreadful friend” who took her as a last-minute substitute on a cruise—are etched in acid and can leave a bitter taste.
VERDICT Many readers will appreciate the way Marvin’s bang-on honesty reframes the ordinary; an enlightening, accessible tome.
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