The poems in Katie Ford’s fourth collection implore their audience―the divine and the human―for attention, for revelation, and, perhaps above all, for companionship. The extraordinary sequence at the heart of this book taps into the radical power of the sonnet form, bending it into a kind of metaphysical and psychological outcry.
To convey her overwhelming sense of loss about the dissolution of her marriage, Katie Ford presents a strange, almost fairy-tale realm ... At first, the grief feels profoundly physical ... Yet as the narrative unfolds, in 39 sonnets, readers are led through a kingdom that includes a cold, distant lord, beasts of burden and multiple rooms for those who are stuck there. This landscape allows the speaker to slowly work through her feelings—from despondency...to equanimity ... The journey also serves as a quest of sorts as her shattered sense of self slowly begins to mend.
The extraordinary sequence at the heart of this book taps into the radical power of the sonnet form, bending it into a kind of metaphysical and psychological outcry. Beginning in the cramped space of selfhood―in the bedroom, cluttered with doubts, and in the throes of marital loss―these poems edge toward the clarity of 'what I can know and admit to knowing.' In Song and in Silence, Ford inhabits the rooms of anguish and redemption with scouring exactness. This is poetry that 'can break open, // it can break your life, it will break you // until you remain.'
Ford explores and performs the work of mourning in her fourth collection, which traces the dissolution of a relationship and a home. She begins by locating grief within and around the body, which 'is now the house, the rooftop, the lake and the lotus.' Ford writes, 'I am everywhere and the fear, when it desires/ to grow, grows continental, drifting,/ torn, submerged.' Ford patiently explores the topography and scale of this fear in a series of 39 sonnets, which connect in a crownlike procession and which variously address the self, the reader, love, grief, and God ... Ford makes sense of sorrow by way of poetry, granting verse 'its truth since through its door/ I might grow a new home.'