Trickster by Randall Potts

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TITLE: Trickster

AUTHOR: Randall Potts

PUBLISHER: University of Iowa Press

NO. OF PAGES: 92

DATE READ: January 25, 2015

SYNOPSIS: *from Goodreads*

Trickster opens with a crank call to the reader: “How was I to know / You were thin, your garden / Was covered in smoke / That you sat in your house / Coughing?” Over the course of these beautiful and eerily accomplished poems, Potts’s reader is taken on a journey that is at once time-scarred and resolutely contemporary, earthy and haunted, moving from estrangement to reconciliation. Amidst a deepening sense of crisis, the Trickster of Potts’s imagination emerges as aggressor, prankster, victim, and healer, forging resilient music from the afflictions of the mind’s “infested nest.”

Trickster veers quickly from meditation and narrative to song, plunging the reader into a liminal world of dreams, archaic lyrics, and fables, populated with figures ranging from the Hawk and Worm, the Cat and Dove, to Cold and Death. It is a wilderness in which all things are alive: “a blade of grass / equal to the suffering / of a lifetime.” Yet it is also a place of menace, “where a fly with one wing, keeps / tipping over in the grass, where / the ants will have him.” Whether or not the Trickster reaches utopia, he reckons with the world that is achievable on earth and in words, “those dreams of woods / relayed to you.”

REXY’S RATING: 3 stars

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