Reckless Lovely
by Martha Silano,
Saturnalia Books, $15 (paper)

Reckless Lovely begins with a bang, not a whimper—“a dash of giant impact” and a “pinch of heavy bombardment.” “The Big Bang” sets the stage for a collection exploring the act and art of creation, not through the “disambiguation” this poem’s speaker calls for, but through the spaces between the celestial and terrestrial, the otherworldly and grounded. Throughout, the pairing of long run-on lines with staccato rhythms complements the study of what is fleeting and what endures. “Summons and Petition for Name Change” and “The Architect of the Inevitable” are abecedaries, rigid in alphabetical sequence yet unruly in the succession of disparate words and images. Even the poet is unmade in “We Found Martha Silano!” a poem that explores the “untwisting/re-twisting dance // of DNA” and the etymology of a family name. In its three parts, Reckless Lovely takes us from an exploration of the creation of the world to our places within it, moving between telescopic and microscopic views. In “Breast Imaging’s,” the speaker sees her breasts on an x-ray screen as “two infant / galaxies, two baby solar systems.” Silano’s speaker is Wallace Stevens’s “rabbi of the diaphanous” or “Gossamer goddess,” but she is also of this world. Her “translucent muse” “lofts // a gauzy lug wrench toward the shadowy / freeway” where a broken-down alphabet “needs a lift.” These “appropriate incongruities” are the force behind the poetry and the poet, herself an “Ever-reveler of the unraveling” and “Undoer of the done.”