New Books Network

Lynn Strongin

The Burn Poems

Headmistress Press 2015

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in PoetryNew Books Network October 27, 2015 Jen Fitzgerald

When Denise Levertov called Lynn Strongin a “true poet,” she recognized an awareness that transcended the young poet’s age. This very human awareness can...

When Denise Levertov called Lynn Strongin a “true poet,” she recognized an awareness that transcended the young poet’s age. This very human awareness can come with suffering. Inflicted with Polio as a child, Strongin speaks with a voice that understands states of varied ability, that knows real pain, and has navigated the way relationships change in the face of illness.

Composed entirely in singlets, The Burn Poems (Headmistress Press, 2015) pull at strings of understanding until meaning has unraveled and reassembled itself. There is a longing that emanates the pieces, a longing well-learned and well-developed that shifts its focus, but never loses intensity.

I want her to stay
Close
Not paralyzed like me
But content in her apron of photography: printed, filmic security
The image holy, holy, holy.
Bliss comes like flare of lit match
And can be blown out as quickly:
By word

It is rare for one to realize their conversation is inhabiting a moment of history-yet-to-come as it actively engages the present. When speaking with Strongin, I heard a voice that has resonated for generations and will continue to resonate for many to come. She has tapped into the undeniable, fragile force that makes us human and she allows that well-spring to flow.