The Ledger of Mistakes
“Why remember the dead?” poet Kathy Nelson begins this sobering meditation, a descent and rise through what’s lost and sometimes found again, her keen eye on the natural world, her mother in the Bardo and in life, both trouble and love restored, unshakable grief, regret, triumph, mystery… And why exactly? Because we need these poems as lens, as touchstone. And such lovely, startling interventions of language and image! Vivid detail, layer upon layer—say, a “landscape stitched with fencerows,” or to hold a breath “until someone unlocks the door.” That someone is this most remarkable poet. “Last night,” Nelson writes, “I found a hidden stairway leading down/into a maze of rooms …” And what a rewarding gift for all of us, to follow her there.
—Marianne Boruch, Bestiary Dark