Rodney's Reviews > Debts and Obligations

Debts and Obligations by Alicia Cohen
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's review
Mar 07, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry

Cohen’s concerns in Debts and Obligations are massive in scale but sized to fit the forms of human life: motherhood, memory, “crabs like bubbles popping upon my lost open palms.” The poems don’t explode the “I” at the usual center of lyric so much as expand its habitat, directing “attention’s fierce flame” to the blurry frontiers between human and animal, the dead and the living, the city and the forests that ring it. “Mass scale extinction” balances with hope wrung from human connection: “someone always holds your hand/even in memory/or a dog or a cat who recognizes you.”

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