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An Intimate Look at Being Human

Guest Post by Antonio Addessi.

In Anatomy of Want, Lee takes us deep into the intimacy between lovers, the memories they create, hold on to and try to forget but can’t. Through his talent for noticing the small details of everyday life, he arouses all of the senses, often on the same line or stanza.

In poems like “Compliments to the Cook” and “La Cocina,” Lee wafts the scents of fragrant food into our noses and holds up the spoon to our mouths to taste the poems coming off the pages. The longing to love and be loved is stitched tightly into each line as we’re carried through cityscapes with lively streets and dark bedrooms with empty beds all reminding us of lovers lost.

Anatomy of Want is an enticing and heartfelt ode to what it means to give part of yourself to the people you allow close to you. In it we see ourselves as the speaker, the holder of secrets and the teller of truths sometimes hard to swallow. The nostalgia exudes itself onto every page—evoked by memories of sorrow and loss, of growing up too fast and living in an often foreign feeling state that is strangely familiar. Its Americana places us deep in the heart of Manhattan’s subway systems and the long aisles of grocery stores filled with people that infinitely stay strangers. This book is definitely on the edge of what poetry is going to look and feel like for years to come. It is one that deserves to be read and reread for it’s intimate look at what being human truly is.

Anatomy of Want by Daniel W. K. Lee. Rebel Satori Press, 2019.

Reviewer bio: Antonio Addessi is a poet and writer living in New York City. He received his MFA from Columbia University (’20) and his debut book of poetry Sleeptalking, published by Rebel Satori Press, comes out April 2022.

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