living must bury by Josie Sigler2

Review: living must bury by Josie Sigler

living must buryliving must bury by Josie Sigler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gotta say that I loved the “Contents” in this book. What is usually a list of titles and page numbers, Sigler weaves into a whopper of a poem. I’m a sucker for prayerish poems and “Contents” was one of the best I’ve read to date. So why not 5 stars, you ask? Hmmm. More difficult question. I liked the book a lot. The poems are sort of lyric catalogs of personal and public violence (feral children, wife beating, prisoners of war). I loved moments like in “O You With a Spine”:

O Panhandler, O Heart, don’t testify , You will certainly outweigh
a feather, O,

Your mouth is a feather , O Feather, I have not stolen

/ bread, I have not, O Sunspot, O Crocodile,

O Shepard, O,

I also liked the odd listing mechanism she employs like in “those who frequent carnivals”:

Now a summer buried 8 years in, gangplank,
worm-hole, games beneath the covers,

Those who play tennis with spatulas & balloons

But the obvious problem is the tendency of the prayerful to tip over into melodrama. Often Sigler insists on telling too much of a story and this over-telling sort of erases the keenness of her perceptions/imagination. I wish the book had been a little more rowdy and less linear, but overall a pretty interesting read.

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