Alinda Wasner writes like no other contemporary poet. Her voice is unique, powerful and evocative and her lines dwell in the physical while channeling the metaphysical. She often writes of common things, but depicting them viscerally, as if they had lives of their own. The result is an emotional boiling-over that leaves us a sloppy mess, like we have just finished canning tomatoes, not reading poetry.
Wasner primarily uses visual imagery, but not exclusively. In one example of the aural, she finds her experience of things so interchangeable that when she writes, in Small Craft Warnings,
“Just outside the small cove of your room/the boats toss in their slips/cables clanging/like chimes in the window…”
a reader can’t be certain if she’s really comparing boats to chimes or implying the opposite. Here, she also has poems with the smell of mint leaves being crushed underfoot, the taste of pomegranate juice spilled from freshly pressed seeds, and autumn Aspens, not dropping their leaves, but hurling their silver coins, Judas-like.
In Love, Was It? she plays with sonics deftly, including internal rhyme, in this medley:
“Love, was it under the lemon tree/The first time our eyes met/The wind quivering along the spines of the tall grass?//Or, was it by the river/The first time our palms touched/The sun red on wild waters?//Love, was it under the street lamp/The first time your lips salted mine like margaritas/The moon over your shoulder a gold medallion?”
And damned if I can’t see a tequila bottle bearing that medallion when I’m through reading this.
But the tone of her work can change in an instant, and readers should never assume to know where her work might be going, as you’ll see toward the end of this same poem:
“Love, was it by the water/The first time your silence stung me/The sand a cauldron-cloud of chaos?//Or, Love, was it deep in the forest/The first time you turned your back on me/The wind pulling the curtain of night across the horizon?
In this collection, Wasner’s poems span her life from childhood to grandparenthood and everything along the way. They contain raw emotions, joy as well as pain, reflecting life as it can be found in most places, but described in ways that seldom occur to the busy observer.
I’ve had the privilege of knowing Alinda for the past several years and I’ve read several of these pieces as first drafts, watching them evolve to their present form. I would encourage you to meet her, through this beautiful book, and as I did, add her to your short list of favorite poets.
Pre-Order at Finishing Line Press