Gut: Poems

Univ. of Arkansas. Mar. 2022. 100p. ISBN 9781682262023. pap. $17.95. POETRY
Winner of the Miller Williams Poetry Prize, Hutchinson’s first collection makes good on its title. “Do you know/ what I mean/ when I say/ I have types/ of hunger?” asks a speaker. The appetite of these poems evince a belief in the burrowing of language, how with the right tweaks, language reveals webs of connection among family, place, and sensation. From the sensuous “mud-scent shoaling my nose” of the Mississippi River to a “borborygmi/ beneath the hum, braided into her, braided into me,” the poems speculate on memory as bodily past, an exchange of both people and places. An especially thought-provoking theme is the exploration of how people contain and withstand, with firm tenderness, exuberant impulses: a mother and her jumping child; a hand inserted into the mouth of a seizing baby. Hutchinson treats language similarly, exuberantly pushing it into other shapes, a person who “panthered the porch,” someone “crude-ing growed up words.”
VERDICT Threaded with myth and ghosts, marvelously present to the senses, with wordsmithing so inventive as to thrill, this exciting work is recommended wherever poetry is read.
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