This Is Still Life
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“An anthem against apathy” —Amelia Martens, author of The Spoons in the Grass Are There to Dig a Moat Read Tracy Mishkin’s poems as an antidote to the “meat wheel full of teeth” that is the contemporary news cycle. Not because this dangerously clever collection soothes, or because it provides comfort, but because these lyrics are urgent without shallow or callous bids for the reader’s attention, and instead render the heartbreak of America as gorgeously as an old master’s Vanitas—it’s the beauty of the poems that provides hope, even as the menace of the grinning skull cannot. This Is Still Life fully invests in the double meaning of the title as it uses the dirty minutia of domestic life to symbolically stand in for our ruin while pointing to how the sunlight gilds the dirt so sweetly, we can’t help but get up again in the morning. “Talk radio, speak / to my heart of all that I have lost,” Mishkin’s speaker prays, and we find ourselves praying, too, while the poems work polish into our hope.
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