Smallwood’s book of poetry is a delight for the senses in so many ways. Divided into three parts, Thread, Form, and finally Other Enclosures, her use of poetic techniques such as loose rhyme, rhythm, repetition, and allusion masterfully pull the reader into a world of prose monologues, drawing them in as if she were reading on a stage.
Parallels can be drawn between the poet and J. Alfred Prufrock. Andrew Spacey says in his analysis of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” a poem by T.S. Eliot, that the poem’s speaker is getting on in years and appears to be “measuring his life in coffee spoons, losing his hair, turning thin…he is still hoping to make his mark on the world, even ‘disturb the universe’.” Smallwood’s poetry just might disturb the reader’s universe for a bit as well, whether they scramble to check the form of a villanelle entitled “Envelope Villanelle” or must refresh their memory on Greek mythology for “The Hovering” or “Arachne.” Smallwood references things a modern-day librarian might sprinkle in to entice her readers.
Bits and pieces of the author’s awareness of everyday surroundings can be imagined, as in “The First Sign””
The first sign
of life on my new walls were
two swaying spiders on invisible
silk making my first curtains
of ancient pattern.
Her mind flips from present to past in several poems, including this example from “Rural Mail Boxes”:
My favorite? A homemade snowplow-proof
box and post mound of local stones with
only a door visible—homage to far away
Her third and final section, my favorite, truly completes the images of things bound or enclosed—for better or worse. In “Waiting for the Chemo Pills,” she writes:
I study the clear
Upside down the cup’s a mini lampshade;
children could circle moons with it;
it could put beetles outside. Or ants.
Things without wings need freedom
So I put it in my purse.
I recommend this book for adults everywhere who enjoy poetry. You will want to put this book in your purse to read when you have a moment to sit by yourself in a quiet room.