Tuesday, June 10, 2014



"I can't read this passage in a language I was never taught."

Poetry is a curious beast. As Potts wrote in Fable, the piece illustrated on the coverhis collection "began innocently enough." In the classic sense of a trickster poem, the first poem invites one into a simple setting, then twists the scenario masterfully. However, my favorite poems throughout this collection were the ones that encapsulated complex moments and ideas.

A moving and diverse collection filled with earthy and naturalist reflections as well as visceral reminders of humanity's relationship with the animals with whom we coexist and upon which we depend for our food. At times, the grit and brutality with which Potts reduces breathing life to meat and bone unsettled me, I far prefer unsettling poetry that made me feel than simple rhymes that failed to evoke an emotional response. Through his exploration of the natural world and man's interaction therewith, Potts seldom fails to deliver on the promise of emotional awakening.

Trickster, from University of Iowa Press, is a diverse collection, and of course every poem will not appeal to every reader, and likely each reader will find some poems off putting while others will knit themselves to the reader's heart. Trickster is filled with images that will haunt and short turns of phrase that will echo in the reader's mind for years to come. This is a fine collection to enjoy in a light breeze under the evening sky, or perhaps in one's favorite reading chair in a living room that doesn't fill with smoke- though I suggest reading it on paper, because in a literary world seemingly devoid of modern technology,  there is something of a cognitive dissonance in reading it on one's e-reader.

I received a free eARC of this title for review purposes. I have not been compensated in any other way for my review, which was not swayed in any way by the free nature of said ARC.

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