Ghost Apples: Poems

Red Hen Press. May 2023. 120p. ISBN 9781636280844. pap. $17.95. POETRY
In her latest volume, Coles (Wayward) explores both her relationship to nature and her own sense of mortality. She looks keenly at the natural world around her, especially birds and animals, from her pet parrot to the birds swarming her husband’s feeders to the wildlife crossing the ragged edge of her property in Salt Lake City: “I knew of beauty: its hunger,/ Its delicate provocations,” she muses. Elsewhere, she takes aging head-on. In one poem titled, “If The Older I Get The Less I Know,” she observes, “—the more I wonder, What the hell/ Is anyone talking about?” Coles is deft in her observations, sometimes helped along by carefully deployed personification. For instance, she describes “taste” as “being/ A form of imagination.” Her poetic rhetoric might be described as “sonnet-ish,” since many of her poems contain 14 lines of various configurations, many ending in couplets. Yet none follows a specific rhyme or rhythm pattern, and this technique allows the subject to become more of a whole: “a form,// Becoming more.”
VERDICT Appropriate for followers of Coles’s work and especially readers connected with nature.
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