RISK A VERSE by Libby  Weber

RISK A VERSE

A Year in Daily Sonnets
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Weber’s debut features one-a-day sonnets that explore the quotidian and the divine.

The San Diego–based author plays with the strict structure of the sonnet form in this hefty collection while also addressing diverse subjects. She manages to pack plenty of personal experiences into the 14-line rhyme scheme, telling tales of missing the bus, enduring food poisoning, and longing for air conditioning. With a careful balance of humor and seriousness, Weber drops in references to pop-culture touchstones, such as the ice bucket challenge, popularized in 2014, and Harry Potter; other poems address political events, placing them in the modern era despite their antiquated form. “Ferguson” expresses bystander despair in lines such as “There’s nothing I can do, this I admit, / And nothing to say, but I’m saying it.” In “Hopeless,” the poet copes with the 2016 presidential election results by seeking comfort in “puppy kisses.” Weber also turns her gaze toward the natural world; in “Calypte anna,” she offers an evocative description of a bird: “A hummingbird, afluff in coat of green, / Magenta scarf, and iridescent wig, / Demanded the location of his queen.” In “Blood Moon,” she paints a vivid picture of a pair of sky-gazers: “My seat’s a folded blanket on wet grass, / Our sprinkler-dampened dogs upon our laps.” The author cheekily plays with themes and titles, from a Gabriel García Márquez reference in “One Hundred Seconds of Solitude,” about her love of libraries, to “Mising Leter Sonet,” in which she removes one or more letters from the last word of every line. Throughout these poems, she also reveals herself to be a classically trained soprano and dog lover. Some experiments don’t succeed, however, such as “An Extremely Juvenile Sonnet,” in which Weber toys with genitalia-themed humor: “They say the penis [sic] mightier than the sword, / But sometimes writing makes one’s conscience prick—.” An excessive use of footnotes also errs toward overexplanation.

An ambitious poetry collection that will defy readers’ preconceptions of what a sonnet can be.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-692-96045-5
Page count: 406pp
Publisher: Burrito Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2018




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