Poetry. Melissa Dickey's rending and sparely lyric second collection, DRAGONS, moves in five exacting suites. Or should we call them acts? These long poems are cobbled between self and selves, in the fleshed halo of space that separates even the closest kin: cousin and cousin, mother and child, husband and wife. The speaker, though often an actor in someone else's scene, moves keenly aware of the agency in devotion, on which the rest depends: "I did what they said: Hold your baby. Give her a kiss. I did what they said I did what they said I did." Dickey shows us life in flickers, and the beauty and terror of these poems stream by in potent, portentous moments: "He says I should be worried/ about the dragons in the White House./ He says I should be worried/for my children./ Don't you love that baby more than anything else in the world?/ I said: There are good dragons and bad dragons.""Lineated in the style of Creeley or Oppen, these poems, instead of employing their (or any) decided projects, tropes, or themes, ask us (a now-timeless endeavor) to investigate the complicity of language and subject matter."—Barn Owl Review"This is a writer who calls us out in our vulnerability... She does exactly what the best poets do when they unearth what's beautiful in the ugly and what's ugly in the beautiful."—iO: A Journal of New American Poetry"Dickey focuses on quiet places, or moods, in the hope that such effort may explode such simple vistas into comprehensive understanding."—Little Village"Dickey's work reaches toward the limits of language."—City Arts
Melissa Dickey is the author of two previous books of poetry: DRAGONS (Rescue Press, 2016) and THE LILLY WILL (Rescue Press, 2011), and her poetry and essays have appeared in New Orleans Review, Interim, Columbia Poetry Review, and the anthology The Anatomy of Silence (Red Press Ltd, 2019), among other places. Born and raised in New Orleans, she currently lives in Western Massachusetts with her partner and their four children. She teaches literature and writing at an independent high school.