Driving Through the Animal
in Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 3
(Upper Rubber Boot Books, November 2016)
Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 3 collects three chapbooks in a single volume: brothers Anders and Kai Carlson-Wee’s Northern Corn invites us on a trip across an America of dust, trains, poverty, dignity, and dreams; Begotten, co-written by Cave Canem fellows F. Douglas Brown and Geffrey Davis, bravely and tenderly explores fatherhood in the era of Black Lives Matter; and Enid Shomer’s Driving through the Animal lovingly moves between unflinching witness of destruction and hope for the future.
In Driving through the Animal, Enid Shomer writes of her landscape the way a lover describes the body of their beloved; attention to each freckle, cleft, and scar. With crisp formalism and exquisite detail that calls to mind the sea-worn odes of Seamus Heaney and bodily-fluid-soaked lyric of Kim Addonizio, Enid has crafted an erotic and sobering love song for our dying world, one that asks us to glimpse “the perfume hoarded all day by bees” and insists, “through radiance and filth, through blubbering grief and parabolas of rage,” that we not look away.
In Enid Shomer’s Driving through the Animal, she is, as she states, a “clear daughter of the tides,” which perhaps explains why her mind moves so deftly between inner and outer concerns, between music and silence, between plenty and scarcity, and between a hope for the future and a reckoning with death. Though her landscapes offer a “visual blessing,” they also wrestle with a frightening diminishment, sometimes ecological and sometimes personal. “It’s hard work to ponder one’s moral/failings,” she confesses; yet, like plovers burying eggs in beach sand—too often “reduced by the smallest foot to a yellow stain”—Shomer nudges her poems into place, trying to offer “a pure voice,” never more endangered than now.
Enid Shomer’s striking new chapbook, Driving through the Animal,takes the reader into timeless natural kingdoms and on to the immediacy of human relationship with the fluidity of water—back and forth, up and down we go. She gracefully exploits what language can accomplish and the way in which it bridges seemingly permanent distances. Many of these poems hang on the cusp of the temporal as in “a spangled globule on the oily feather of a bird.” Such exactly seen miniscule imagery holds ephemera in space thus extending and slowing the reader’s perceptive field. Delight in Enid Shomer as the record keeper of varied and shifting coastlines—those of vital literal and figurative substance.