Exceeds Us by Leah Poole Osowski
Satrunalia Books, March 2023
Taking its name from a line in Rilke’s second Duino Elegy, “For our own heart always exceeds us,” at its core, this is a book about new love and underlying illness. A lyric pursuit of our existence among the natural world, these poems keep in mind that existence is transient. They straddle reality lines, often stepping over into dream spaces or pushing against a linear world. But they are solidly of this world, its ground and various bodies of water, where a boy can become a field and a girl can drown in the rivers of her own body. At once intimate—“I would know you in someone else’s life, someone else’s storm cellar”—and expansive—“We rape the landscape / we can see, start with what covers the light”—Osowski is a poet of language, of notice, and of inquiry. Rilke writes, “Wasn’t love and departure placed so gently on shoulders that it seemed to be made of a different substance than in our world?” Exceeds Us is interested in that substance and the notion that our lives are not singular. These poems exceed the pair at their center, they exceed the one life we’re granted, and they are not bound to the laws of our earth. “Prove how weather is not a god and I’ll believe in you.”
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