This is the Nightmare
Thistledown Press / 3 February 2010

This is the Nightmare by Adrienne Gruber Published by Thistledown Press Reviewed by Carrie Prefontaine $12.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-52-2 Adrienne Gruber’s This is the Nightmare is a collection of deeply reflective poems that will appeal to anyone seeking to understand the complexities of love and language. “I don’t pick up foreign languages well,” the poet laments in “Dead Language,” and this is a theme carried throughout “Limbo,” the first section of the volume. Whether the poet is speaking a “jumbled commentary on who we never were” in “Our Frantic Language,” or reading the “Tabloid Poems” that “scald a pink fleshy tongue,” words themselves are suspect. In these poems, language is most meaningful when it manifests through the physical. In “How I Find You,” for example, emotional pain is written vividly all over the subject’s face: “You have the face of a Japanese bowl, / charred raw strokes of paint along your cheekbones, / plump and full, designed with clear intent, / your jaw tight, and pouring / out of you, something cold.” The poems in section two, This is the Nightmare explore grief, carrying forward the complex search for connection, sense of self, and meaningful language. “[G]rief is a kind of…

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