The Englewood Review of Books
Best Books of 2019
*** Our Best Poetry Book of 2019!!!
Most powerful, however, are Reeser’s sonnets, which appear throughout the book’s five sections. The majority of these poems embrace a distinctive
structure, blending the rhyme schemes of Petrarchan and Elizabethan sonnets. Though this Italo-Anglo sonnet is not original to Reeser, it remains an instance of her efforts to generate poems that thrive, as she does, in the space between carefully delineated categories. In their very bones, these are poems of hybridity.
Ultimately, Reeser knows what all formal poets do—that to write in received patterns is not a failure of invention but a desire to walk in the company of history. This same desire which animates Reeser’s masterful use of European and Asian poetic forms also motivates her retelling of Cherokee myths and prayers. For a racialized poet—particularly for a Native American poet in the United States—this desire entails a bold sense of recovery, of actively choosing to preserve and reinforce an identity erased over centuries. Reeser’s stunning volume is a testament to this recovery, repeating an early poem’s defiant assurance to her grandfather: “For centuries to come, let it resound, / Your voice not stifled—ever—by the ground” (“Not Stifled by the Ground,” ll. 13–14)
- From our review by Jonathan Diaz
in our Fall 2019 magazine issue
READ an excerpt from this book…