RaveMichigan DailyA beautiful little book that will leave a melancholy taste lingering on your tongue. It is a book that, by virtue of its definitions, defies its own definition. It will make you pay just a bit more attention to the world and people around you. It doesn’t shy away from deep emotions; it confronts them head-on, which makes for a tricky book. It can feel so big that it is overwhelming. Koenig manages to strike a good balance between heavy emotional deep-dives and compelling frivolity ... These are not just random words, though, pulled out of thin air and whipped into existence. They are taken from words that already exist and are refashioned, which grounds them in a linguistic reality while providing a framework through which Koenig can be creative ... Koenig uses words that already exist to describe other words that don’t yet exist, which is kind of the whole practice of writing: to capture something in words that don’t yet have a name. The best poetry lends language to a feeling or experience not yet captured. It’s why good poetry (and, by extension, this book) is so satisfying ... Koenig has a cunning ability to parse out emotions in a very specific way and pin them down into actual articulation, both in the word he creates itself and its poetic definition and etymology ...There is joy to be found in every nook and cranny of this book.
RaveThe Michigan DailyHirshfield’s ninth book of poetry is an elegy to her lost sister and the world she used to live in, the world that had her sister in it. The collection was strangely uplifting, however; Hirshfield deals with the challenging topic of death by creating poetry that finds wonder in mundanity ... Despite grappling with these complex ideas throughout the collection, Hirshfield makes room to play with form and sound ... She separates her own experience from the rest of the world, sending them briefly on two separate tracks. In this way, her poetry produces a curious dissociative effect which demonstrates the walls trauma can erect in a person ... Hirshfield writes with a respect for nature and a moving plea for environmentalism that is all the more effective after the many-pages-long emotional primer of her own personal loss ... Hirshfield’s subtle handling of environmental issues, rendered in masterful verse, forces the reader to think of climate change in terms of personal loss, rather than as an abstract and distant problem.