Friday, December 28, 2001

Visceral Lit
The kind folks at Diversity Inc. have been friendly enough to send me their recent poetry booklets, and Catherine May's "Guts," which hit my P.O. Box not too many weeks ago, is of particular interest. The more than 40 poems -- grouped in thematic sections addressing devotion, people, home, and life -- are as the title implies: visceral, emotional, and raw.

Many of the poems deal with the emotional scars left by relationships and abuse -- physical, sexual, and psychological. Even though Catherine's background is largely unknown, the writing hints at experience working -- or working through -- therapy and psychiatric treatment. "Psychoanalyzing a Private Poem" speaks to this -- the assistance poetry can offer in working through problems and the emotional weight that a poem can carry for the writer, as well as the reader.

The poems -- including "Hot," "An Almost Empty Office at Sunset," and "Droll" -- invoke the idea of escape through looking for one's self in the body of another, suicide, and alcoholism. Catherine has felt and seen pain. Her poetry is one way we can escape it ourselves.

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