Ariel Gordon, Stowaway

Oh god, Ariel Gordon is going to email me. And I just don't know what she's going to say.

Quite simply, I felt conflicted about Ariel Gordon’s Stowaways.

On a per-page basis, I felt myself more at home here than in most poetry books I've read in the last few years, more comfortable especially with the voice and the store of images. In the end, though, I just don't know what I think of it overall. Do I distrust funny, which is all over this book? Probably: I’m not sure how to weigh humour. Do I overvalue the complicated, which this book isn’t? Probably: but I don't particular enjoy overtly complicated poetry.

When I came back again to the book, I felt like Stowaways showed more inconsistency than it should. It may be simply that Gordon's going after enough different targets and goals that I'm not quite keeping up, but I'm not sure it's a collection so much as it is a book of separate poems. Still, at its best, there’s a sly and telling humour to Gordon’s verse that I very much appreciate:
how the word wild has begun to beg,
as a half-starved
bear begs: defeated, but with one eye
on the toddlers
& lap dogs.
(“How to Survive in the Woods,” p.58)
As much as I enjoyed the separate poems, I wanted more from Stowaways, and I hope that Ariel Gordon will achieve even more with her next collection. I'm planning on buying that one as well, and I hope you do, too.


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