Allison Joseph’s poetry collection, Little Epiphanies, is a lovely book.
Her tightly structured and orderly poems eloquently comment on everything from everyday clutter (“Little Epiphanies”) to our fellow mammals (“Ode to the Naked Mole Rat”). Yet she also skillfully uses iambic pentameter to poke fun at strict poetry format in “Sonnet for a Good Mood:”
“How funky can I be in fourteen lines;
how thick a groove can I lay down right here?
How bad can my ass be in these confines–
ten syllables each time seems so severe.”
On the next page, in “A Prayer for Women’s Bodies,” she smoothly transitions to more serious matters, honoring the imperfections that society would have us camouflage or hide:
“…love handles no longer
maligned, each waist its own territory,
own beloved landscape of bruise
or bone, wrinkle or fat. Let us honor
bone, whether porous or pointy,
shattered or submerged, hardworking
scaffolding holding us up when gravity
and graves could sink us down,…”
In fact, what amazes me most about this collection is that the subject matter is so varied while still fitting together well. She makes observations about racism in “Sundown Ghazal”, about Afro hairstyles as statements of black empowerment in “Thirty Lines about the Fro,” and her wandering pen touches on more mundane subjects like public transportation with equal parts observation and insight.
I recommend Little Epiphanies for poetry lovers everywhere.