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Book Review :: Plucked by Miracle Thorton

Guest Post by Susan Kay Anderson

These poems are about what is left after cruelties. Thornton’s voice is at a whisper. She shows us what it is like to be young and vulnerable, and we can barely grasp the magnitude of events that happen because her telling is elusive, it is non-confrontational. Many poems deal with hair and looks and how the world and the self react to what others expect, as in these lines from the amazing prose poem “Quick”:

[…] these twins with hair like disturbed water lead the show, they take
gymnastics. you learned how to do a cartwheel off the tv. you join them
because the teachers are suspicious. they never leave you alone.

And this excerpt from “Jackdaw”:

embarrassed by his unfiltered blackness,
how it rings in his laugh like a broken key,

Thorton’s poems build and become fiercer and then settle down at the end to beauty found in nature instead of what might preoccupy humans. From “Equinox”:

[…] leaves, us calling, him calling, silky
traces of inch worms, cottontails

What it tells about is something we cannot exactly find yet get hints from through the actions of others. What we want changes into something we don’t want and are stuck with until it also disappears.

Plucked by Miracle Thorton. Rattle, 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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