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Review: Those April Fevers, by Mary O'Donnell

Siobhan Campbell, Cyphers, No. 82

There's a sense of the 'I' of these poems being under pressure, sometimes aesthetic - the pressure to wrest art from the world - and at other times experiencing a more personally inflected pressure of love and longing.
The voice here is committed to the physical work being, in itself, enough to generate descriptive poems which, eschweing postmodern tropes or tricks, will carry meaning to both writer and reader.
The sensibility in this book is reflective, aware of 'fires of justice' and of those who stand up against the 'erasing moment', sometimes to make a meaningful personal life, and at other times to claim the right to speak truth to power. These two strands are woven together in several memorable lyrics, some using an unrhymed sonnet form to allow for internal argument.
This poet's sometimes apocalyptic imagination leads to poems which envisage dystopian futures as in 'Mapping Europe after global warming' and also to a moment in which the inherited myths, standing in for the best of our inherited pieties, are under distinct pressures as in the tonally playful piece 'Goth Persephone's mother asks her to do the messages'. If there's an occasional tendency to over-state the case or to use rhetorical language, a reader is buoyed along by the humane and curious sensibility, open to the actual world in all its oddity and political ambivalence.