Reading Caduceus reminded me of why I became enamored with poetry in the first place during my younger years. Sorina Higgins is in love with language, in love with the possibilities of sound, image and form. From "Moles & Beans": "Such life flows up these million stalks/along these leaves made lace by beetles/(jeweled brooches on their crochet-work)/that I feel photosynthesis along my veins.". Hopkins's influence on Higgins (in fact, she has many poems directly written "after Hopkins") is gorgeously, abundantly clear. Higgins also has such a magnificent handle on forms: villanelles, sonnets, pantoums. These poems are a sonic treat. Aside from technical mastery, however, Higgins possesses an unflinching ability to get to the soul of the matter in a way that really drills into the psyche and spirit. Her poems confronting the alcoholism and self-scarring of people she cares about are honest and wrenching. Her poems addressing such spiritual mysteries as the incarnation, cruxifiction, trinity, and Christ descending into hell shun religious sentimentalizing and delve into nothing less than pure poetic worship: "He folded up that hugeness into time,/with care crammed in the virgin's tiny seed,/lingering His conception lest He burst/her by His speed: and thus contained knew grief." Higgins has revived a language worthy of Hopkins without sacrificing subject matter relevant to this century--at least to this reader. Highly recommended.
23 May 2012
Here is Tania Runyan's amazon review. Tania is herself an accomplished poet; my review of her book A Thousand Vessels is scheduled to appear in Curator on June 1st. (We have never met in person and don't know one another well online, so this not friends reviewing friends. I did, however, interview her for the "Where Are We Now?" series). Please check out Tania's website: http://taniarunyan.com/. Here is her amazon review of CADUCEUS, in its entirety: