Starred review of What We Carry in the April Quill & Quire!

“Susan Glickman makes reference to opus 28 of Chopin’s 24 Preludes in What We Carry; as she says in the notes, she has attempted to “translate” Chopin into verse without being glued to any one format. What is utterly consistent in Glickman’s work is attention to the natural world – to flora and fauna, much of which is rapidly disappearing.

The speaker in “Ice Storm” compares her experience of walking on ice in her “old-lady shoes” and her grandfather’s use of ice in Scotch “on the rocks,” which she didn’t understand as a child. The disconnect between worlds is made clear: the child already understands “that the world I lived in / and the one I was told about / were not the same.” Like Ross and Barnes, Glickman informs about experiences, but because much of her content is about environmental degradation, the voice is quite forceful. Gentle, but forceful.

In “Db Major (Laurentian Suite),” for example, Glickman celebrates the beauty of the landscape in all its specificity, mentioning various plants and animals, then moving to an overview:  “A landscape parsed by fractal geometry / the smallest unit mimicking the largest / in unceasing progression.” Glickman takes a shot at Northrop Frye, who believed “only humanity / is conscious and that nature / is an obstacle to transcendence,” but he might have changed his mind given time. Regardless, Glickman’s assertion that it doesn’t matter settles any argument: “the trees / just listen to our high-pitched chatter / and laugh.”

The respect paid to nature in this book is palpable and the sadness at its destruction is equally strong. The technical dexterity is as powerful as the emotions and shows a poet at the peak of her creativity.”

– Candace Fertile


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