27 December 2008

this big fake world, by Ada Limón

this big fake world, a story in verse. Ada Limón
66 pages. Pearl Editions, Long Beach, California. 2007.

I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this before. The story is as complicated as any novel, but conveyed in the terse, precise language of poetry. I know this concept isn't new, it's probably just the first time that I've read anything so contemporary, accessible, so readable done this way.

In fake world we have Our Hero, a man who feels at odds with life. We are introduced to him in "On a Lunch Break Our Hero Accidentally Leaves the Office:"
"...the traffic lights kept turning
green and green again.
He began to complain to them
about being rushed, always
getting the "go ahead..."
"when he returned to the conference
all the men in suits looked
like barbed wire."
The second poem is entitled "There is a Woman at the Hardware Store," and later on we meet Our Hero's wife in a poem entitled "His Wife Was Not Something He Could Hang on the Tree:"
"... He knew she was
angry, but had given up on talking, her mouth
turned down like a fish's mouth awaiting
the hook..."
Our hero has a friend named Lewis, who writes letters to Ronald Reagan.

In this little book of just about fifty poems, we can follow these four lives as they change and interact, and understand the feelings of these somehow familiar people. We are given a rich and detailed story, laced with whimsy (as any love story must be), and told with great skill.

This is a wonderful work, and one that I shall continue to enjoy. Ms.
Limón is a poet of great promise, and I look forward to reading more of her work. I have another collection of her poems, Lucky Wreck, which I'm reading, and hope to write about here soon.

Two poems by Ada Limón may be read in the 19 December 2008 edition of InDigest, a web publication.

I found her books at Amazon.com:

this big fake world

Lucky Wreck

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