In his memoir, In the Presence of Absence, Mahmoud Darwish describes “a second life promised by language,” and that is certainly what Emmalea Russo not only promises but delivers inbook of southern and water. From stunning perceptions such as “little apothecaries of fishes in my pelvis” to lines such as “skin’s an organ / the muskrat exhales / across the surface of the lake,” we are constantly moved between the body and the cosmos until one no longer wants to distinguish them just as in one poem she refuses to distinguish an other from a bayou from a river from the sea it flows into. In a way it is her private linguistic geography of part of the south; in another way it uncovers speech patterns and sounds that extend out from there. Here is anew world of language where prepositions can function as they always wanted to, as nouns denoting movement from one thing to another or as markers leaving us on edge, where verbs and articles are actors in a drama of shifting perceptions as they converse with other parts of speech. Every page opens up a new world and a new language hidden within our everyday usage, filled with lush sound echoes, and creating a world we luxuriate in. This book heralds a voice that is original, sensual, intelligent, a voice that is already important and more, needed. I think the best thing to do at this point is thank her.
Emmalea Russo is a poet and visual artist from Pennsylvania. She has lived in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and the Louisiana bayou. She received her MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has appeared in Ambush Review, ILK, Wicked Alice,Yew Journal, and others. A chapbook, clearing, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. She lives in Brooklyn.
Perfect-bound. 5.5" x 7.5"