Poetry. "Strange practices I'm acquainted with! One / part of myself, a crazed character, talks to / another in an alphabetical degeneration. / It's not the way of the shaman, but my own / signature dialogue." In the poem "An Abstract Piece" an imagined work of art is described "As if you'd dipped your foot in quicksand / lit with fairy dust... / No book could do / it justice." That's an apt description for this collection as well, except this book does do justice to Rebecca Lilly's fantastical visions, which are indeed shamanic. Physics tells us there could be other universes parallel to our own, and to open this book is to stumble headlong into just such a universe, a strange and yet strangely familiar world of mirrors, shadows, and doppelgangers, where the "creatures among us" are often our other possible selves. That these realms seem so reasonable, so fully realized, is a triumph of Lilly's language, which is in every sense of the word spellbinding. There are also many appearances of graveyards and funeral parlors and their functionaries, the instrumentalities of death, but never merely morbid, more another indication of commerce between worlds—like "The Stone" which is described as "a peephole on the cosmos, / holding the sun's heat even as it darkens— / a remnant of its previous life when the stone / was a star." And what of the one who conjures these visions? "I've always been a fan of Grimm adages," she admits at one point, and appropriately she returns to this fairy tale world in the closing lines, where, as the "Lady of Antiquity" she says of herself "I'm no queen. More a / jack of all trades, or a wolf in the bonnet and / dress of an old maid." Don't let her disguise fool you—this is a cunning, audaciously original work, and world.
Rebecca Lilly holds degrees from Cornell (MFA poetry) and Princeton (PhD philosophy) and works as a writer, photographer, and assistant to a landscape architect. She has published eight collections of poems, including You Want to Sell Me a Small Antique (Gibbs Smith), which won the Peregrine Smith Poetry Prize, as well as several collections of haiku from Red Moon Press. Her poems and flash fiction have appeared widely in journals in the U.S. and abroad, such as The Iowa Review, London Magazine, Stand, New American Writing, Conjunctions, Rosebud, and Phantom Drift.Author City: FREE UNION, VA USA