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Book Review :: Fixed Star by Suzanne Frischkorn

Fixed Star poems by Suzanne Frischkorn book cover image

Guest Post by Jennifer Martelli

Suzanne Frischkorn’s collection of poems, Fixed Star, braids loss and language. In her prose poem, “Nascent,” Frischkorn writes, “The yoked constellations—Capitalist and Communist—rang bright on her skin. Fidel, is it cold in Cuba?” As both the daughter whose “father’s from Cuba” and as the grandmother who will “twine a history with a silver thread,” the speaker cleaves to poetry. Frischkorn’s use of the sonnet crown throughout the book reminds us of her mastery of the craft. The sonnet becomes the braid, twining throughout the book. In “Letra,” Frischkorn writes,

            In Cuba, right now, someone conducts
     a symphony of furtive braiding for a tourist.
     She’ll leave before the last braid is half-done.

The repetition of the sonnet balances the “dissonance” in the first poem, “Cuban Polymita,” which opens with the haunting statement,

     Birth cleaved me in half—
     the sea I grew legs in
     now a dissonance
     a fixed star—

The section closes with the image of cleaving, in “XII,”

                 but all she said
     aloud was, “This is where I’m from.”
     Birth cleaved me in half—

In Fixed Star, Suzanne Frischkorn assures us that, despite displacement and despair, it is the language of poetry that will “coax the palomas to follow you home.”

Fixed Star by Suzanne Frischkorn. JackLeg Press, September 2022.

Reviewer bio: Jennifer Martelli is the author of The Queen of Queens and My Tarantella, named a “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her work has appeared in Poetry and elsewhere. Jennifer Martelli has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review.