I hesitate to introduce Kyle Laws’ Wildwood as a book of maturation, of traveling the open road to find oneself, because that critic’s term doesn’t encapsulate the idea that such a book written by such a culturally aware writer can be more about the maturation of a country than a person. But let’s start with that term, and then say that this is also an autobiography of a people and culture that we are still trying to find our way through. This is a highly complex poetic autobiography encompassing America in the late 20th and early 21st century, where we might find James Dean ripping around Dead Man’s Curve to slam into Jack Kerouac while Charles Bukowski looks on from his table at The Bates Hotel. Now, I’m not meaning to belittle the majesty of writers like Kerouac or Bukowski—as a matter of fact, Kyle Laws quotes Bukowski in her epigram, because after all these men were of the open road and unpaved alleys and bar rooms as Kyle is, and they were searching for a cultural maturity as Kyle is, but they are getting a little old, whereas she is filled with a fire and life that continues to burn after covering this country from east to west in more than four decades of hedonistic detail and glory. There is nothing tame in this book of highly complex poetry. There is no self-pity or bitterness found in the falling apart of houses or landscapes or lives. Rather, there is a brilliance of detail in the imagery, and there is a highly feminine sensitivity to the layering of that imagery with subsequent details and images from other parts of the nation and other times of her life. This builds a cross-current of time and space and emotion which is all-present. As in the depths of consciousness or within the spaces between a blues musician’s notes as she strolls the banks of the Mississippi outside New Orleans, there is no linear time or space excluding the reader from experiencing the impressionistic and immediate satisfaction of our senses as we read the poems. The sunsets of Philadelphia meld into the sunsets over the deep waters off Cape May, New Jersey, and into the baked adobe of New Mexico with a multi-layered palette brush effect that could not be learned in any school or classroom alone. These are the poems of an artist who works in many media. Jared Smith (from the introduction)
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Kyle Laws’ poems, stories, and essays have appeared in magazines for thirty years, with four nominations for a Pushcart Prize. Chapbooks include George Sand’s Haiti (co-winner of Poetry West’s 2012 award), Storm Inside the Walls (little books press), Going into Exile (Abbey Chapbooks), Tango (Kings Estate Press), and Apricot Wounds Straddling the Sky (Poetry Motel’s Suburban Wilderness Press). She is editor of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. A full-length poetry collection titled Wildwood is forthcoming from Lummox Press. www.kylelaws.com
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Book Description Lummox Press, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1929878737