Lightning Falls in Love

Copper Canyon. Sept. 2021. 120p. ISBN 9781556596360. pap. $17. POETRY
A National Book Critics Circle Award winner for Space, in Chains, Kasischke delivers intriguing scenarios in cut-glass, page-turningly readable verse that carries shadows underneath. A woman and a vulture are paralleled to reveal the burdens of freedom (“Not to have wanted to go.// But to have flown”). A flower girl’s photograph presages personal and global trauma, the red-eye effect suggesting “a frozen horse, and/ a frozen field, my/ country’s wars, and/ my own child’s future.” In the title poem, lighting falls in love with a range of linked characters, as the speaker concludes unperturbably “then my own lightning’s work here/ is almost done.”

VERDICT Inventive, if more unsettling than whimsical, these top-notch poems acutely observe an unpredictable world. Highly recommended.
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