Carrie St. George Comer’s The Unrequited

It is often suggested that the late poet James Wright was a master of “lyric surreal.” And with The Unrequited  Carrie St. George Comer invokes this line of American poetry. She does so with certain invention, humor, and wild flirtation. I return to this book often. I take away new special gifts each time, because Comer’s poems expand the meaning of human. Her work says the human experience is imagined both in life and death. With a range of rhythms Comer is able to broaden the framework of life and death. She aptly creates landscapes as she soon embodies these same landscapes.

Each poem pulses, defies, and taunts. They ask me to come play, to solve the riddle. And in the end I’m better for having done so. I’ve read this book while on the train, traveling, and porching. These reads leave my chest beating with a bit of blood loss in the shape of a hitting heart.

The poems that have become my mantra are bit more reckless and architecturally based. Some of these poems include ”Crowscrowscrows,”  “Shelburne Falls,” “Get Outta Town,” and ”Don’t Let Me Forget You,”  with lines like:

Memory: the enemy. Its nude an worthless body

enters the evening as if on wings, smiling, and waving a white feather, 

 first quiet, then tanked,

but still a rating of G: for mild peril, for some scary images, 

 for emotional brutality.

As Comer kicks me in the jaw, she artfully inserts whimsy once the line has been crossed. It’s as if she says, “Wait. Wait. Don’t go.” And I stay. I trust. Afterall, I want to know the secret. This balance is the perfect flirtation. I want to date her characters, want them to take me to dinner. Because there has to be something to my incessant blushing.

The Unrequited is Comer’s first book, and I find her bold and honest. She is a poet that makes the myth she becomes. Her poems challenge me to turn the sharp edge. They force me write what I don’t know, to look fear in the eye and say, “Hi.”  And it’s this act of looking in the eye that keeps me waiting on the porch for Comer’s sophmore collection.

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