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FOUR WAY BOOKS: Joni Wallace--Reviews
Four Way Books
Blinking Ephemeral Valentine
by Joni Wallace

Winner of the 2009
Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry
selected by Mary Jo Bang
ISBN: 978-1-935536-09-3
paper, 68 pages, $15.95



“In these poems, the valentine (i.e., love) is a many-faceted metaphoric machine that is endlessly active—forever drag racing with the dark—after which it sputters, clangs, trails off, goes out, and returns to post itself like a “shadow pterodactyl.” Of course, the fact that it’s blinking (on-again-off-again) predicts its own inevitable extinction. Until that time, however, the heat is fierce and fanatic: “If it snows I’m dressed like Christmas, I’m lit, / I’m drinking Red Rockets and oh how they glare.” There’s flicker and flame, and things flung: “my goodbyes, flywheels and marigolds all, of those midair/still hanging souvenirs and petals I’ll press into pies.” These poems are brilliant: the language is excited, the syntax ever-shifting, the images inventive. Every line feels irrefutable, and charged— electric, like love is, and glittery, like valentines are.”

—Mary Jo Bang, judge