I Want to Make You Safe

A defiant yet often vulnerable voice rings out in poems that are, as Rae Armantrout writes, "exuberant, strange, and a bit grotesque." Indeed, Amy King's poems do not shy away from any aspects of the messiness of existence; they resist simplification and bravely confront the natural world by, as John Ashbery notes, "bring[ing] these abstractions to brilliant, jagged life, emerging into rather than out of the busyness of living." The poems are also often infused with political language, employed conversationally, intimately. One poem declares

        To the great chagrin of the poor who long withstood,
	we are each dislodged by another new industry
	—a mother's milk, if you will—
	that no longer holds the indigenous raw,
	the remotest zones, the last unswept corners of an immigrant globe.

The collection ends with a long poem, "This Opera of Peace", a steady tour-de-force that serves as a beautiful coda to the poems that came before it. The book ends on the lines "the tiniest nest within / our mouths' open bellies, / thinning now, we love."

This book review originally appeared in American Poets.