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Book Review :: The Silk The Moths Ignore by Bronwen Tate

The Silk The Moths Ignore poems by Bronwen Tate published by Inlandia Books cover image

Guest Post by Jami Macarty

The Silk the Moths Ignore, Bronwen Tate’s debut and winner of Inlandia Institute’s 2019 Hillary Gravendyk Prize, is to be “read as choreography,” marking “what led to this.” In her poems, Tate makes legible what is illegible about rejection as it concerns motherhood and miscarriage—rejection by a newborn of a mother’s breast and by a woman’s body of a fetus. What are the roles of nature and will? These poems “rage at who names a body,” acknowledge that a man and a woman “carry risk unevenly,” and ultimately recognize “the present carries multiples.” Memory and recovery, balance and counterbalance are important to these poems whose forms toggle between lullaby-like short lyrics and Proustian prose poems. Brevity and extension, lines and sentences, meditative and narrative counterbalancing elements “speak a language no known mother tongued.” Tate is a poet willing to sit with the complexity of human connection: “we seek comfort and reject it.” Her poems “swim against / the waves, held by / what resists,” and, it seems in so doing the grief-currents they swim transform into a “less insistent presence.” Isn’t that what loss eventually becomes? The Silk the Moths Ignore is a collection of lyric ache that brims with “artifacts of hope.”

The Silk the Moths Ignore, Bronwen Tate. Inlandia Books, September 2021.

Reviewer bio: Jami Macarty is the author of The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), winner of the 2020 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award – Poetry Arizona, and three chapbooks, including Mind of Spring (Vallum, 2017), winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award. Jami’s writing has been honored by financial support from Arizona Commission on the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, and by editors at magazines such as The Capilano Review, Concision Poetry Journal, Interim, Redivider, Vallum, and Volt, where Jami’s poems are forthcoming.

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