So, full disclosure: I’ve known Valerie Wetlaufer since high school and I’m tremendously proud of her. You should also know that I have no idea how to review a book of poetry. But, since I have this book of poetry it only seemed natural to me that I would should read it (and not just a poem here and there whenever it catches my eye from its spot on my desk) and say a few words about how I feel about it.
Sometimes, the words and the structure of the poem seem so spare; like you’re only getting a quarter of the story when you really prefer the whole thing. But, then you are happy to only have part of the story because just a brief glance has already brought a tear to your eye (Your Body will Haunt Me). I loved the jealous and angry in this book (Bad Wife Spankings). And, I’m so curious about the secrets (Letter to A.) I love the breathless rush of it (I gave you my–)
I think that is what poetry can bring into our lives. This reminder that we’re only ever privy to part of any act or event and that our reaction to it can be mixed (heartbroken but happy) and genuine and our own.
Mysterious Acts by my People is from Sibling Rivalry Press and is Ms. Wetlaufer’s first full length book. (She has also published some chapbooks, which are shorter. I’m also woefully ignorant of the ways of poetry publishing.) It has three sections and each of the sections has its own flavor. Some of the poems have stuck with me. (I find myself quoting “The One with Violets in her Lap” and I just discovered the title was taken from a poem from Sappho.)
I really enjoyed reading these poems and I really look forward to Wetlaufer’s second book coming out this year.