Book Review

The Way a Line Hallucinates

The Way a Line Hallucinates

Danielle Vogel

Red Hen Press, Jun 2020

80 pages

Poetry, contemporary


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5-Stars

The cover is interesting and addresses a part of what is in this brief collection of poems. I feel it doesn’t show enough of the organic side of the poems, however, it is rather powerful.

As I noted above, this whole 80-page book is a short collection of three poems written as monologues. Rather like Dear Diary entries, only these are Dear Reader entries. The female author speaking to us, the readers of her work, as she seemingly reinvents herself and then sets her soul free.

I have an eARC of the book, and my copy is all highlighted as there were so many parts of this that really appealed to me. Some because I liked what the words were saying. Some for what the words sounded like together. And some because of the visual they created for me. This poem is chock full of such passages. Allow me to share one of these passages with you, with the understanding that this is from an eARC and may have been changed by the publication date of June 30, 2020.

If moving is defined by trajectory, if seeing by form, then this line we both straddle materializes somewhere. Without form and with it. We see from these inky nodes. A toddler’s body. A teenager’s. A woman’s. A man stepping off a bus. Can appear here as if for the first time. Over again, we fill their lungs.

Say touch, and we can’t. But we can see from our oscillation between the two- and three-dimensional. We confront the invisible body. As one enters, burrowing from within toward and outside. And then in reverse. Through a vocabulary at once amorphous and continuous. We organize.

These lines pulling the cloth-wrapped curse of her. A rustling within the pages milks her skin. A woman, an afterimage.

Since I’ve taken this out of context, you may need to read through this a time or two (or more) to get the cadence and the real feel for what is being said. But it’s definitely worth the time. The whole book is definitely worth the time to sit and read and ponder. This is definitely one to read over and over and mark up with pencil, pen, or highlighter and scribble comments in the margin. This is an excellent piece to read with a buddy or a book group for discussion. Great for quarantine! I highly recommend this book to poetry lovers. It is slanted towards women by its very nature, but there is no reason a man couldn’t enjoy and learn from it as well.

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