Copper Canyon. Apr. 2023. 80p. ISBN 9781556596650. pap. $18. POETRY
In her latest collection (following Soft Targets), Anghina/Believer winner Landau explores the landscapes of loneliness and mortality within the isolation wrought by the COVID pandemic. Using her trademark sharp, refreshing wit, she positions 32 poems, all titled “Skeleton” and all acrostics, among poems titled “Flesh” and ends with the defiant, affirming series “Ecstasies.” She opens by telling readers what she’s about—“So whatever’s the opposite of a Buddhist that’s what I am./ Kindhearted, yes, but knee-deep in existential gloom”—and unfolds that seeming contradiction, both its warmth and its gloom, in conversational poems meant to engage. If this is a book about death, it’s also about sex and yearning as she plays the god of love (Eros) against the god of death (Thanatos): “I wanted to write the thing itself—/ pinned, magnetic,/ ambient swoon in the infinite air./ Eros writ large, Life, the full force of it.”
VERDICT In a book coursing with energy, Landau remains in control. “This is my fifth book of poems. I had my way with each of them.” Indeed she has! A good addition to most collections.
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