Quite at Home: Homebodies by Sarah J. Sloat


Sarah J. Sloat’s new chapbook, Homebodies (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012), made me curl up in a corner of the couch and read it straight through. And straight through again! Short, tight poems full of clear, magical, gorgeous, and often hilarious images of things found in the home—tea leaves, onions, Monopoly tokens, bad toothbrushes, toaster, whisk, sponge. Here’s the shortest poem in the book:

Spoon

found in the knife drawer
with its face
punched in

“Faucet Song” begins like this:

The faucet is the saddest instrument,
its only song de-plete, de-plete.

All night, its little fists ball up and fall.

Can’t you just hear it? See it? Feel it? It reminded me of childhood, hearing a faucet drip at night, yes, but also standing there at toothbrush time and putting my finger at the tip of faucet to feel the little ball of water. There’s also “a sink that won’t be filled” in the haunting “Dollhouse,” first published here at Escape Into Life!

The poems in Homebodies cover a range of moods and go far beyond a domestic to-do list. In “Feng Shui,” the speaker uses home imagery to re-order her inner life, an imaginary room of one’s own: “I decorate my mind with drapes, // untie the silk ropes and tassels / that cinch them back // and appoint my room with jewels….” But at the heart of the poem lies a weary truth: “Still, there’s only so much / one soul can rearrange.” Not to worry, as the poem “Quite At Home,” a cento, rearranges lines by other poets, beginning, “A star nailed the evening / where mystery flowers into any hands that long for it.”

I love the prose poem “Wine Cellar,” with authentic-sounding, witty, delicious descriptions of various wines.

Excerpts:

Eauvain Beaujolais

A round young wine that can’t concentrate. Elastic body with an acrobatic, almost chewable bosom. The finish evokes mink, kerosene and low satire.

Maison Vigniot Sancerre

Thin but delicious like rain. This straw-yellow white smells of clean laundry hung to dry on a Paris balcony.

Pouvier Sauvignon Blanc

A profound, complex white, barren of trickery. It has a linear acidity which hones focus. On the back palate, the rinse goes down with the sob of a cello, then trails to a gripping finish.

Oh, you’ll want to swirl these poems in a glass and then drink deep! Or curl up on the couch, like me.

Take a look at Sarah J. Sloat’s poetry feature here, learn about another of her books here, and see the Homebodies cover here

See more of Kim Joon’s amazing porcelain art photography here.

Find Homebodies here at Hyacinth Girl Press.

–Kathleen Kirk, Poetry Editor

 

 




  • sherry o’keefe

    on my wish list, soon to be fully realized. love the pairing of art and poetry.

  • Jeannine Hall Gailey

    A wonderful review, Kathleen, and a wonderful poet (and pretty great porcelain art as well!)

  • Maureen

    What a delight!