In this haunting, beautiful third collection from Jill Bialosky, the poet examines the intrusion of eros, art, and the imagination on ordinary life.
The lover who whispers “Is it still snowing? . . . Will you stay with me?” in the first poem reappears throughout the book in different guises—sometimes seemingly real, at other times as muse, doppelgänger, or dream. In “The Seduction,” as the lovers stand to watch a house fire— “gorgeous, dazzling, / the orange and reds of such ruin”—the poem, like the book itself, becomes a study in the nature of reality, selfhood, and the different levels of consciousness we inhabit. Evoking Penelope and Odysseus and Orpheus and Eurydice, Bialosky asks us to consider the instability of the self and the myriad forms it can take through art, in poems that are sexy, dark, and at once cool and emotional. The creation of the observing mind is paramount here; whether the lover goes or stays, the poems remain.
In Intruder—her most mesmerizing gathering of poems yet—Bialosky has captured not only the fleeting truths and pleasures of passion but also its mysterious dangers.
Don’t be afraid. Come closer. It’s bath time. The boy’s in the tub, Father’s shaving, Mother is dressed in her evening wear: black silk slip, high heels, leaning on the tub’s edge.......
Look into Mother’s eyes. What truth do they belie?
from “Saturday Night”