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Review: Yelp!, by Liz Almond

...Some poems are intense, even visionary, for example Negative, which mercilessly confronts the abjection of death:

...an open coffin
thrown over the perimeter wall...
tatters of funeral fabric.
And the wonderful ending
...seal me
away from the sun.

...Almond does seem to have a taste for the exotic rather than the everyday. But in the poem, she is peeling oranges in a kitchen that sings/ its hollow, polished, beaten melody, again an everyday epiphany. There is strangeness, too, to some of her best poems. Girl Lifting Skirt to Dog is an uncomfortable read with not a word too many, as is the very dark Silk Purse. Then there is the erotic A Barefoot Doctor Asks Me to Undress with its condensed three line stanzas and careful rhymes, and The Man Who's Easy On The Eye Is On The Beach, a powerful evocation of tragic family history in a context of physical desire:

The man who's easy on the eye
has surface shimmer like gold leaf
and if it's stripped away you find
a swamp of dead brothers
the sister who jumped,
his mother's burnt bread, smouldering,
his father's broken shoulder
in its dirty sling.

These poems seem to me to be pointing a way forward to a sculpted, and therefore even more intense, poetry.