5/8/2019 2 Comments
This edition of Boss Ladies is brought to you by member Heather Miller Janiga, who reviews poet Lizzie Wann's new book The Hospice Bubble & Other Devastating Affirmations.
Good poetry doesn’t require that the reader understand the mechanics involved behind the careful creation of each stanza. Good poetry will trap you within the confines of a moment you never lived, but that comes alive inside you so much so that you can see, feel, smell and even taste it. It will teleport you to another time and place, where the painful anguish, joy, frustration, and ecstasy lifts off the page and becomes your momentary reality, each thoughtfully chosen word a vital breath, a palpable heartbeat. Lizzie Wann’s new collection of
poetry entitled The Hospice Bubble & Other Devastating Affirmations is a perfect example of this. The only difference is that Wann is not merely a “good” poet, she is an exceptional one.
Wann’s book is divided into five segments: The Hospice Bubble, Death, Depression, Writing and Love.
In The Hospice Bubble collection of poems, the reader is guided through a painful journey of the looming loss of a beloved father and the heartache and numbness hurricane that violently/gently swirls you toward the impending doom that awaits. We are flashbacked to the delicate memories of a little girl riding passenger side in her father’s 18-wheeler while Willie Nelson croons through the radio, “chocolate chip waffles for breakfast a noon on Sundays,” and the belly dipping excitement of being tossed in the air by strong endearing arms before the burden of sickness settled in to weaken the body. In tandem with the sadness, these joyful memories make the impending loss even more unbearable. Wann careens us through hospital bedsides, mortuaries, hospice care, the “lift team” and the unavoidable decline with blunt grace.
Tender moments of acceptance arise, such as in “Bequeathments,” where a father, perceptive to a tapered timeline, gathers his daughters to bequeath them his most treasured possessions. This moment, so precisely relatable to anyone who has lost a beloved in a similar long sick way, is mournfully sweet:
one afternoon, as winter sunlight waned
Dad asked me to bring a box from his room
small tv tray in front of him
he slowly began relieving the box of its contents
rings, dog tags, a smaller box with papers
a couple bibles, ID cards
In the Depression segment, the pro-longed discontentment that settles like concrete spreading heavy gloom throughout the body manifests through pensive prose that ruminates like an empty echo through the soul. One example of this is the poem “Bone Song,” which quakes with deep, resonating pain:
there is an ache
bottom of my throat
base of the neck
that is a sad song
there is a tremble
in my chest
that is the difference
In Love, the reader is taken on roller coaster dips of longing, finding/loving, and the sting of unrequited affections. “Sins and Miracles” spirals into the chaotically intoxicating grip of Las Vegas, while at the same time touching upon the lack of something expected that never came to be, the coming together of hearts and bodies:
I am wearing Las Vegas home
white cotton steeped in beer,
sweat, residue of bed sheets,
memories of cigarettes whose
ghostly smoke still found ways
into these fibers
that now surround
my own sins and miracles
it was in Las Vegas
where we finally did not touch,
exchanged no compliments,
did not accept our anger
Above is merely a small sampling of Lizzie Wann’s recent poetic masterpiece. Once you pull back the cover and delve gently into the first poem, you will find it difficult to lay to rest. It entangles you in a web of melancholy beauty warbled through elegiac rhythms and beats, dips and highs, loss and reckoning. It will consume you for a spell, and while captive within these poetic trammels, relish every moment of the high-voltage life it pumps through your veins. Although, as the title suggests, devastating pangs lay in wait throughout her prose, the true,
unrefined beauty of Lizzie Wann’s poetry is anodyne to the human soul.
Find The Hospice Bubble & Other Devastating Affirmations:
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