Synopses & Reviews
From the snowy egret to a womans floating rib, nudism in America to Holy Communion, Simone de Beauvoir to Nathans hot dogs-the subjects in Lucia Perillos fourth collection of poetry lift off from surprising places and touch down on new ground. Hers is a vision like no other. In “To My Big Nose,” she muses: “hard to imagine what the world would have looked like / if not seen through your pink shadow. / You who are built from random parts / like a mythical creature-a gryphon or sphinx-.”
Fearless, focused, ironic, irreverent, truly and deeply felt, the poems in Luck Is Luck draw upon the circumstances of being a woman, the harsh realities of nature, the comfort of familiar things, and universally recognizable anxieties about faith and grief, love and desire. In “Languedoc,” she writes, “Long ago / I might have been attracted by your tights and pantaloons / but now they just look silly, ditto for your instrument / that looks like a gourd with strings attached / (the problem is always the strings attached).”
Perillos versions of nature are always unflinching: “Most days back then I would walk by the shrike tree, / a dead hawthorn at the base of a hill. / The shrike had pinned smaller birds on the trees black thorns / and the sun had stripped them of their feathers. / . . . well, hard luck is luck, nonetheless. / With a chunk of sky in each eye socket. / And the pierced heart strung up like a pearl.”
Down-to-earth, full of playful twists of language, and woven from grand themes in an accessible, appealing way, these poems pierce the heart and delight the mind. Not one word is wasted.
"Recipient of a 2000 MacArthur Fellowship, Perillo has turned out a fourth collection of poems in her signature style: sassy, slangy and aggressively matter-of-fact: 'So ta-dah,' she writes, 'Here's the moment to which we've been brung' ('I'm not sure about brung,' she immediately notes). Like many poets of her generation, Perillo cycles between the low and the high; she manages instantaneous leaps from troubadour poets to nipple rings, from raga trip-hop to the baby Jesus, seeking the irreverent in every possible moment of reverence, and vice versa. 'When first they told me the serpent beguiled her / I pictured her eyes knocked loose and rattling around.' It's no accident that Perillo mentions Eve women, and their usual second-class role in the world, are a chief subject. Although her tone could be called puckish in places, its wry quality doesn't mask the real feminist anger that's at the core of the book and finds its expression in poems on Simone de Beauvoir, breast cancer, misogynistic poets and mutilated dolls: 'Darling / lamb chop, don't you look feverish, don't you look faint,' she asks her doll, after she's finished removing all the limbs. Death creeps into the book's last section, but in her customary manner and though she does occasionally give in to sentiment Perillo isn't about to let a little thing like mortality get her down. '[H]ard luck is luck, nonetheless,' she declares, and she gives us no choice but to believe her. (Apr.) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
LUCIA PERILLO, a 2000 MacArthur Fellow, has published three previous collections: The Oldest Map with the Name America, The Body Mutinies, for which she won the PEN/Revson Foundation Poetry Fellowship and several other awards, and Dangerous Life, which received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her poems have appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, the Atlantic, and The Kenyon Review. They also have been included in the Pushcart and Best American Poetry anthologies.