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Book Review :: Apogee/Perigee by Leesa Dean

Apogee/Perigee by Leesa Dean book cover image

Guest Post by Susan Kay Anderson

Apogee/Perigee by Leesa Dean is about relationships near and far. What is the poet’s relationship to situations, people, and other everyday items? I see Dean’s poems in a creative, concrete way; and see them as points on an astrology chart, which is circular and the connecting points to various houses/states of being. This is a sacred, esoteric book of poems not to be approached offhandedly. Slowly, by studying these dialed-up, circles of potency, there is a lot revealed, as in these lines from “House of Values”:

[. . . ] movies
on repeat. ice cream on repeat.
dinner at bedtime. toys kept in
Crown Royale bags.

At first, I did not get that these were astrology charts. They looked like maps with scroll and script writing. When I went back and examined them, it was plain as can be. In these lines, Dean remembers her grandmother’s teachings:

[. . . ] her eyes lit like
bright swans when her mouth
formed the words.

I love, “her eyes lit like bright swans” so much. I can see and feel this image. The mystery, the sacred, and the overcoming of what was endured make for careful reading. If I read nothing else, I would be satisfied.

Apogee/Perigee by Leesa Dean. above/ground press, April 2023.

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).

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