Reviews in 200 Words

Self-Portrait with Crayon by Allison Benis White

In Poetry on March 31, 2010 at 4:16 pm
This collection of poems is blue and white; mostly blue, occasionally black and silver and pink. It’s umbrellas and red flowers and dancers and white aprons. It’s yellow bruises and portraits and fear. It’s a closet full of clothes and shoes. It’s dirty dishes and the screaming woman in the upstairs apartment; it’s a rainy afternoon. It’s an ashtray full of cigarettes, and warm nights tucked under the sheets. These are careful as ballet steps. These are moments, lovely moments, that often echo the kind of empty sadness that ties a little knot in the gut. If only the rain would ease into sleep with me, soak through and be finished, I could breathe. This is a world of practice: a world of repetition and perfection and pain. These people are shy but they can hide it; they’re nervous and anxious and ashamed, but bold: If someone breaks into your house at night, my father advised, pretend you are dead. These people have endured silent ache—day after day of the same. More than anything, these people learn that, it is useless to be someone else.

Allison Benis White


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