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Anthony McCann, I ♥ Your Fate, Wave Books, $16 (paper)
The poems in I ♥ Your Fate, Anthony McCann’s third book, develop gracefully and with appealing guile, which is why their unabashed romanticism and faith in simple lyricism remain so powerful. The poems constantly enact a process that questions experience and uses that questioning to springboard into shimmering, transcendent revelation. “But / what kind of person / is a person / like this?” the speaker asks in “Field Work.” Often these revelations urge attentiveness, a more careful consideration of the powers of estrangement in everyday objects, as in “The Assistant”: “And I know / that beyond these // PLANET SIZED CLOUDS / there’ll be a // gray and blue cloud.” One of the most rewarding aspects of this book is the way this drama of revelation is played out in both phenomenal data and linguistic utterance. The title sequence immerses the reader in an engaging foray into how language can determine and shape our experiences and how this process itself can become a revelatory experience, so that the speaker of “Draga Barbara,” admits, “I don’t know how to begin / to touch the terrible truth.” Throughout this playful, heartfelt, and enriching collection, McCann demonstrates that the truth surrounds us all; our best way of connecting with it is through compassion and love. With equal parts exuberance and dread, the speaker encourages us to “waste the whole day feeling these things.”
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