My latest review on Goodreads.com —
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Every one of these translucent poems can be likened to an orchid—a unique specimen cultivated with rare skill, yet surpassingly fresh. Each candid word is a shimmering petal. And the networks of syntax are angelic: consummately clear.
The events presented within these pages are personal “herstory” happenings, familiar to most of us. Private or public dramas situated in Vermont and environs—territory haunted by Robert Frost and Jane Kenyon, among other master poets. To my mind, April Ossmann certainly deserves such esteemed neighbors, not only because the concerns of her poetry are shared by Kenyon and Frost—surviving a rural winter, negotiating with wildlife and villagers and romantic partners, eeking out mercy or pity from the strict contract with Death—but also because several of her poems pay direct homage to their oeuvres.
Recall the oft-quoted poem, “Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry.” According to its author Howard Nemerov, the line in question is not a fixed, finite borderline; instead, one kind of language morphs into the other by “riding a gradient invisible.” Likewise, with regard to the possibilities offered by April’s poetics, boundaries are not sharp edges; instead, they are dimensionless membranes analogous to the cosmological event horizons of black holes. Think: multiverse, multi-verse. Whenever I am probing any Ossmann poem, searching for one or more wellsprings (of sounds, turns, images, form, claims about reality), my pursuit becomes folded into the poem’s own unfolding. I approach, approach, approach … depart, depart, depart. April’s poems deflect conclusive arrival. Her craft employs involution, implication, origami, self-consuming bubbles.
Jane Kenyon had the immutable “otherwise;” April has the mutating otherwise. Robert Frost had hay fields; April has force fields. Vermont poets have sturdy apple orchards; April has immaterial auras. Auras as transitory—and marvelous—as orchids.
I highly recommend Event Boundaries.