I suspect editors have their own version of that hypothetical, if they could invite any five people for dinner. I think of poets and poems. I already have the luxury of talking poetry with Philip F. Clark whenever I want and if we drift over to discussing The Durrells in Corfu, on our way to Cavafy in Alexandria, is that so wrong?
I had the opportunity to first read Angela Narciso Torres chapbook To the Bone last year and then spoke in hushed tones to anyone who asked me if I’d read anything lately. The work heartbreaking and vital. It took me a little time to get the nerve up to ask Laurie Saurborn if she was open to reviewing it. An affecting poet in her own right, we had both read Angela’s first full book Blood Orange, and I knew Laurie had once reviewed it. I had a good feeling about her connection to Angela’s work.
I’ve always seen poetry reviews as more of a necessary drudgery. The questions remain, how do we celebrate and promote these poems and poets? How do we inform a world we haven’t convinced to read the poems in the first place? Does it still matter if it only matters to a few of us? To be clear, it matters to me. In recent years, they’ve seemed to become more of a superlative fest. More of a verbal gymnastic display by the reviewer than speaking to work. I understand it but I want better for us.
The present is a moving force. In these poems there are no stopping places, no points of recalcitrance or reluctance. The speaker does not fight the lines or what she discovers within. They are places of reflection and realization…Laurie Saurborn, ‘Messages Telegraphic: Angela Narciso Torres’ To the Bone‘
Laurie sees Angela’s work so well here and with depth of field. Her vantage reveals the work in a way that gave me new eyes. But it also feels like a conversation between old friends. As if you’ve invited these poets into your home. It’s a good read, perhaps as simply, because it’s good writing. I’m proud to house it. I’m speaking to you in hushed tones now. You have to read Angela Narciso Torres’ To the Bone, listen to what Laurie Saurborn has to say about it.