Skip to main content

surrealism

<em>Binstead's Safari</em>. By Rachel Ingalls. New Directions, 2019. 218p. HB, $15.95.</p>

Feminist Forms

“All your working life,” asks an exasperated wife, “you’ve studied these stories. Why?”

She means the stuff of folklore, her husband’s academic field, in which most narratives take a turn to the surreal. The man replies that such stories present “a true picture of the world,” better than “what we see around us.” Ordinary reality, he argues, “isn’t any place for heroes.” This vexes his wife further. “There are always going to be heroes,” she declares. “As long as there are challenges or dangers or injustices.” Really, isn’t that the whole point of storytelling: the heroes?

Impossible Bottle. By Claudia Emerson. LSU, 2015. 65p. PB, $17.95.

Ecstatic Sorrow

Claudia Emerson, who died in December 2014, had come to be known as a poet capable of revealing startling discoveries inside quiet, quotidian circumstances. Her poems are set mostly in Southern rural and small-town scenes, moments in ordinary lives that would normally elude anyone else’s attention.