INSTANT WINNER by Carrie Fountain


Email this review


Poems that commemorate, if not exactly celebrate, the state of motherhood.

There’s a time for having “a guy spread my legs / on a pool table,” and then there’s a time for making oatmeal. That’s not exactly how the poet of Ecclesiastes put it, but it’s close enough to enfold this collection, the second from Texas-based writer Fountain. Writing in unadorned language in a kind of flat, featureless tone, she evokes the weariness attendant in bringing a baby into being and then tending it in safety in what is, after all, a precarious existence. “All I want to do is go home / and take off these pants / and make Tuscan bean soup,” she writes, breaking from her favored couplets in an onrush of exasperation. The feel is often bittersweet, almost elegiac, as Fountain writes of such mundane events as flying with a baby, distracting her from the clamor with “a hundred Cheerios, one by one,” and wishing that the sensory apparatus be turned off so as not to remind her of the monotony (“brainwashing / sounds great / like the feeling // you get when you stand up / too quickly”). Fountain’s language is formal but not grand, so when she steps into less-controlled diction (“Why do these / ducks make my soul go nuts”), it’s noticeable. In the end, one feels that a major victory has been accomplished when a poem is finished without too much interruption and “the baby sleeps and sleeps.” 

Suited to an audience of like-minded, weary-to-the-bone readers who will find much to sympathize with in these pages.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-14-312663-8
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2014