I Was the Jukebox Sandra Beasley.
Norton, $24.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-393-07651-6
More fun than most recent books, Beasley's second collection can also get quite serious: in the best parts, the poet pretends she is any number of nonhuman things—a jukebox, an orchid, the Egyptian god Osiris, an eggplant (in a sestina), grains of sand. She also writes “love poems” to big ideas: “Love Poem for College” begins “You hit on me. You hit on everyone.” Beasley portrays the sometimes chaotic landscape between sex and love, youth and adulthood, the young men and women who hope for everything and the grownups who settle for less. “For an hour I forgot my fat self./ My neurotic innards, my addiction to alignment,” says the piano, remembering when she was played. In “Another Failed Poem About Music,” “even the name” of a percussion instrument, “triangle... is a perfect betrayal.” Beasley can sound regretful, but also flirtatious: “You are the loneliest of the three bears,” she says in “Love Poem for Wednesday,” “hoping/ to come home and find someone in your bed.” If Beasley's conceits owe something to Kenneth Koch, her tone and her subjects might place her with chick lit, too: this is a book that could go a long way. (Apr.)
Holy hell. I'm thrilled.