The Arranged Marriage (University of New Mexico Press, 2015), Jehanne Dubrow’s fifth book of poetry, is a “project book” in which all the poems are inspired by and set around a specific undertaking. Dubrow interviewed her mother about her childhood and early adulthood in Honduras, El Salvador, and Florida to get an adult perspective on the stories she had heard many times growing up, and then created scenes based on the anecdotes. Using prose blocks, Dubrow employs poetic phrasing and distillation as well as the freedom of traditional narrative to interpret her mother’s life, but the striking work resonates far beyond the specifics of her project, extending into the common experiences of fear and trauma. The danger of a moment replaces graphic specificity. In “A Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals,” initial confusion over how a story should be told echoes the fracturing that happens with a sudden, violent act: “Or perhaps the story starts with/books on her table. When the man/breaks in, she’s sleeping./Tomorrow: an exam. Tomorrow: a/paper due. She’s half-asleep, the/sound of someone in the room soft/as turning pages.”
On Friday, July 17, Glenna Luschei, Marsha de la O, and Kendall McCook read from their poetry at 7 p.m. at Teatro Paraguas Studio (3205 Calle Marie). Luschei’s most recent book, The Sky Is Shooting Blue Arrows, was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2014. De la O’s newest book, Antidote for Night, was published by BOA Editions. McCook is a poet, storyteller, and former teacher originally from Clayton, New Mexico. All three writers concentrate on humanity’s relationship with and connection to the natural world. For information call 505-424-1601.