I rarely have a viscerally bad reaction to a book, but when it comes to connecting with a reader, I find it frustrating when surrealism is confused with, well, confusion. Other reviewers describe this book as containing an “exuberant grief,” but in my review this month in Gently Read Literature, I argue that there is a way to use surrealism in poetry to heighten and clarify awareness, particularly when writing out of grief -T.S. Eliot did it in The Wasteland– but Richards does not sustain it in Helsinki.
While reading Ada Limon’s Sharks in the Rivers, I shapeshifted into a bird, a fish, a river, a horse, a desert, and another woman. I took on other forms but those are secrets. If you want to try on wings or fins yourself, you should check out the brand spanking new May issue of Gently Read Literature, and read my review.