rev. of Sails the Wind Left Behind by Alessandra Lynch

Issue #90
Spring 2003

Sails the Wind Left Behind,
poems by Alessandra Lynch (Alice James): These poems do the remarkable job of making contemporary American poetry feel new again. Lynch takes risks at every turn, trying out new shapes in the mouth, flirting with narrative. A story of longing and desire gets told, but entirely on Lynch’s terms shrouded in mystery and the surreal: “I ate the coal fault and splurged on split diamonds; / / I swallowed thick pride the lion’s mane still twitching . . .” Lynch’s success lies in how inviting these poems are, even as they disrupt the balance between lyric and narrative, symbolism and realism: “hoarse flash / sooted satin / / of crows, she is aiming to be / / the brownest throat of forsythia . . .” One of the many wonders of this book is how it simultaneously transcends the everyday and also grounds us. At their best, these poems invite us inside and entrance with breathtaking flights of imagination. The poems operate at dizzying heights, and Lynch is so good she convinces the reader to climb just as high.
Susan Conley