by April Ossmann
paper, 52 pages, $15.95
In Anxious Music, language is alive—real as rain, fresh as fire, fluid and shifting as any river running over rapids and into pools. There is a fine, intelligent unease as April Ossmann turns her quick and graceful mind to the paradoxes and rich ambiguities of contemporary life. She is a poet with a clear eye for detail, a fine wit capable of negotiating between earnest desire and self-teasing. As the speaker in the poem ‘Y’ claims, her work is ‘the perpetual revision of every belief’—not so much in order to defeat certainty, as to be radically open to experience.
The natural world here is richly depicted in its varying landscapes and currents. The world of human relationships is keenly observed as it approaches and avoids love’s postmodern complexities. But mostly this is a book of poems that enact a great joy and trust in language, building a deliciously slippery vessel to carry us through the deep waters of our humanity. Anxious Music is a first book of stunning accomplishment.
– BETSY SHOLL