Guest Post by Susan Kay Anderson
Kathleen Rooney’s, Where Are the Snows, is dedicated “To the future.” This book of prose-influenced poems seems longer than seventy-three pages. Mainly consisting of long sentences reaching across the page like obsessions, it is beautifully made, with attractive cover and front matter graphics. The Table of Contents seems demure because of its scallop-edged border. Line breaks are not of concern here. Instead, being entertaining is. Underneath the jokes and ironic spins, Rooney blends advice column writing with poetry. Each poem is about a fact or observation and explores every facet as far as the imagination will go. In “The Point in Time or Space At Which Something Originates,” Rooney explores “newness,” the word “new,” and “beginnings.” She writes: “Can beginner’s luck apply from moment to moment? Not sure, but I hope so.” I wouldn’t go as far as saying she uses the techniques of stand-up comedians, but elements are here in what gets turned around. In the poem, “Foretelling the Future by a Randomly Chosen Passage from a Book,” Rooney concludes: “Quick! Somebody give me another assignment. Somebody tell me that what we do matters.” Rooney’s book matters. Laughing during the pain of life matters.
Where Are the Snows by Kathleen Rooney. Texas A&M University Press, September 2022.
Reviewer bio: Susan Kay Anderson lives in southwestern Oregon’s Umpqua River Basin. Her long poem “Man’s West Once” was selected for Barrow Street Journal’s “4 X 2 Project” and is included in Mezzanine (2019). Anderson also published Virginia Brautigan Aste’s memoir, Please Plant This Book Coast To Coast (2021).