The Stranger Manual

Catie Rosemurgy's second collection, The Stranger Manual, is, in turns, sassy and cutting, raucous and profound. The book demonstrates the essential relationships between the surface and the internal, between being embodied and being of the mind. Many of the poems in the collection are about a character referred to as Miss Peach. Miss Peach, who is both impossible and familiar, becomes an example of how physical beauty can become a character, can become twisted and useful, important and lost. The poems in this collection are smart and often funny, but they are the kind of funny that can cut back when the reader laughs. The poet warns, "Make sure you have a home. You're going to want / to hurt yourself a little inside of something you own." Dean Young says about the collection, "Catie Rosemurgy's penetrating meditative force is fueled by feral play and we can't help but be swept up in its ricocheting humor, riptide imagination, and mordant, sensual thrill." "Winter in Gold River" begins:

Pretty girl. The weather has knocked her down again
and given her to the lake to wear as a skin.

Why am I always being the weather?
There were days during the winter
when her smile was so lovely I felt
goodness beginning to breathe inside me,

though it remained weak, fetal and separate.

This book review originally appeared in American Poets.