Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Review of Mary Dalton's Red Ledger in Prairie Fire

Prairie Fire
Review of Books
Reviewed by Andrew Vaisius

It isn't until a good third of the way through Red Ledger that Mary Dalton, an out-loud poet, comes out, with lines like these: "dried blood in the cold-eyed sun" (35) "Clouds: racing masses of soot./ Dried grasses bow to the seething,/ bend as one to the sea" (36). These are images you can spit at. Just be sure which direction the wind is blowing. By the book's end Dalton rolls like breakers over rock beaches. "There never were larks--/ first light sent crows," she declares in "Dawn Song":

Caw! Their black whoops
ricochet across the hill:
void made flesh,
maddened accordion, blood-carnival. (96)

Out loud and loud poetry, to be sure. "Salt Mounds, St. John's Harbour" becomes total hyperbole: "these would be her breasts--/ these massive salt mounds/ laced tight in their black vinyl tarps" and "she'll burn all she touches" (22) sounds anything but namby-pamby [...]

To read the complete review, click here.


Mary's previous book of poems, Merrybegot, is available as an unabridged audio recording narrated by Anita Best with music by Patrick Boyle from Rattling Books.