Poetry Summer Reading List Book #2: Confluence

Book: Confluence 

Poet: Sandra Marchetti

Publisher/Date: Sundress Publications, 2015

Why I bought the book: I became familiar with Sandy’s work through a FB group I’m part of and then was lucky enough to meet her at AWP. I attended the panel she was a member of and then was able to meet her face to face while she was signing books at the book fair. Sandy is a lovely person and an intelligent, talented poet. She also has a beautiful voice. If you get a chance to hear her read her work, you should definitely check it out.

What I admire about this collection: For me, reading Confluence, feels like slipping into a beautiful, loved piece of clothing. These poems are carefully crafted artifacts that examine memory, emotion and experience through a unique lens but at the same time there is something wonderfully familiar about the way that the poems come together. The pbookoems that take on domestic tasks like washing the dishes or eating lunch or walking through a room are some of my favorites in the collection because while they are interesting and lyrical and new in language and line, they are also subjects that I relate to and write about. In other words, reading this book was like finding my tribe. It’s similar to how I felt when I read Elizabeth Bishop for the first time. Incidentally, the epigraph for Confluence is from Bishop’s “At the Fishhouses.”

I also love the recurring imagery & themes of birds, water, light and skin; love, identity, landscape and memory.

Favorite lines: “We rub eyes until/we’ve made owls/of each other:/under the lurching/fur of eyebrows,/of blue and green/of our slight glows,/flicks out and open” (20).  “Curved like nautilus shells,/milk-white with golden ribbing,/our spines slope to the sink;/we bow over the warmed water” (51).

Favorite poems: “Blue-Black,” “Skyward,” “Music,” “Hollow,” “Saints,” “Pilgrims,” “Fissures” & “Walk Through.”

Links: When I read the epigraph for Confluence, I was a reminded of a line from another Bishop poem, “Sandpiper” that I used as an epigraph for my poem “Snail Shell.” The line reads “The world is a mist. And then the world is/ minute and vast and clear.” The poems in Confluence bring a clarity to the subjects they examine. They allow the reader to fully immerse themselves in the experience, so you finish the poem feeling like you’ve unearthed a treasure that you can slip in your pocket and carry with you.

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Next: Streaming by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

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