Charles's Reviews > Dowry Meat

Dowry Meat by Heather Knox
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's review
Dec 31, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: stat_2, poetry, reviewed

Stuff I Read – Dowry Meat by Heather Knox Review

Speculative poetry is a strange beast. By that I don't mean that I'd hard to define, really, but that it's like a monster that lurks in the margins of imagination and possibility, defying not just the conventions of polite society but of impolite society as well, stalking language as it strolls at its leisure, making it cast nervous glances over its shoulder, quickening its pace until it flies slapdash through the deepening darkness for the desperate hope of a familiar sight. What this collection captures is a sense of the lurking danger, an undercurrent of something raw and primal and bleeding.

The collection begins with the surreal and innovative VIMVIMRECOIL, which reads as part postapocalyptic horror and part urban fantasy/magicpunk epic. The setting is unsettling, the imagery brutal and sparse and needful. The plot unfolds as the poem follows a series of people who might all be one person, who all reflect in each other's stories and end up in the same place, the poem an exercise in returns and the lurking threat of violence. The single poem takes up a large part of the collection and it does not disappoint, managing to tell a story (and a damned disturbing one) and maintaining an inventive and striking style and language. The setting is as twisted as the lines, stilted and shocking at times and desperately beautiful at others. It is a great marriage of form and function.

The rest of the collection consists of much shorter works, and while none of them quite recapture the magic of VIMVIMRECOIL, they are filled with horrors and beauties and of their own. Circling around ideas of sex and abuse and violence and, through all of that, love and trust, the collection provides a nice variety o f rather dark and impacting pieces. The poems take on a less speculative edge in this second part, which I personally lamented but quickly got over as the quality of the work and honesty and art of the verse kept me reading right along.

In the end, my biggest complaint is that the collection is very short. I would have loved another longer piece to perhaps close things out but what's here is quite good. It's a dark collection (as the title might give clue to) and I found myself captivated through the occasional brutality of the images. It's compelling work, and for me an 8.5/10.
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Reading Progress

December 31, 2015 – Started Reading
December 31, 2015 – Shelved
December 31, 2015 – Shelved as: stat_2
December 31, 2015 – Shelved as: poetry
December 31, 2015 –
page 110
100.0% "A fine collection of poetry, with an eye for form and some striking imagery."
December 31, 2015 – Finished Reading
January 14, 2016 – Shelved as: reviewed

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