by Lisa Sewell
paper, 86 pages, $14.95
In Lisa Sewell’s new book of poems, Name Withheld, she asks: what could be done, what could I do? The answer to such a question is this book itself. Brilliantly energetic, emotionally tough and intellectually engaging, this book-as-answer is a daring, powerful kind of poetics, a feminist poetics, a gendered engagement with the world—as if Emily Dickinson’s transforming skills were suddenly seen as a way of saving the world.
Name Withheld is the dark side of confession’s moon, where privacy deepens because utterance—rich and elusive— reproves the voyeur, withholds what it must. Language hunts what is nocturnal, difficult to spot, heady with contradiction, dissonance, dismay, unmappable, yet moving at the core, her lines like the meteor’s tail, gesturing back to the heart of the radiant.