978-1-62288-903-7 Paperback
5.5 x 8.5. 80 pp.
Pub Date: 09/10/2020
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Erin Elizabeth Smith’s Down is immediately a delight.  Refreshing in its take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the reader discovers here the odd world and new experience that Smith draws them “down” into.  The fall that seems endless takes us into Tennessee, where “petals doodle lawns / like the drawings of girls” or where “grey squirrels / chase themselves into their trees.”  This isn’t exactly Lewis Carroll surrealism, but the narrator of these poems takes us into her incantations and dreamscapes, where suddenly she looks at her spouse lying on the sofa and sees “a foreign // thing, a stammering king / made kitten in the shaking.”

Waking does not necessarily relieve the narrator, nor us.  Rather, she writes, “I am still falling / through the slippery leaves / every bit of anorexic ice, / still waking like a child roused / in the backseat, unsure where I am / in the fragile, new dark.”  And, like Alice, curiouser and curiouser, the trip down means we may rise up, that “it can heal us again.” 

Published by Stephen F. Austin University Press