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SLIM BLUE UNIVERSE by Eleanor Lerman


by Eleanor Lerman

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2024
ISBN: 978-1952781179
Publisher: Mayapple Press

Lerman offers a collection of poems about a woman’s life journey.

The author, a National Book Award nominee, explores memory, paradox, loss, and hope in this book of poetry. She begins with “Karmann Ghia,” a direct address to this “broken little century,” in which she proclaims, “I am not done with you.” She conjures an epoch of “Drinks and drugs and dark meals / no one remembers. We disowned the genders, / dressed them as we wished” (“Radios”) and recalls how “Everyone / was too young then; everyone was queer / and reveled in it” (“The Rag-and-Bone Goodbye”). Love is an undercurrent throughout; in one poem, the poet declares her devotion to a beloved, despite time and distance; in “Nine at the Beginning,” she acknowledges that a relationship was fraught but seems to choose forgiveness: “Darling, I have never burned your letters / I am living in the city now and write / books about you.” Lerman’s poems pulsate on the page; she writes in a refreshingly triumphant and celebratory tone while remaining unflinchingly honest in lines such as “We will get out the old banners, / strip ourselves naked and climb the / battlements of love” (“True Hearts Marry”). Her descriptions are creative and alive, from creeks that “cackled to themselves / as they beat their fists against the houses” to a place where “the gray weather / reinvents itself every morning” (“Thieves”). Some lines, however, seem needlessly convoluted, such as “True hearts / marry upon the battlements and only age / in the fleeting thoughts of swans.” Ultimately, the poet invites readers to join her reverie: “I am speaking now, each word / a slim blue universe, each line an / opening door. Come home at last.” It is an offer impossible to refuse.

A heartfelt rallying cry from an acclaimed poet.