Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Ledger

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Ledger

Article excerpt

Ledger, by Susan Wheeler. Iowa, April 2005. $14

A ledger keeps a record of what's owed and what's gained. In the first poem, Wheeler offers a generative moment, when "a dream began to grow in me. / Or despair, and so I chose the dream," and after waking, "beside me, pinned to a green leaf, / in plastic and a neat hand, a full account. I had indeed still / lived, and been woke for more." "More," indeed, is what these poems offer, with the sexual charge that does not satisfy: "This, a life / that's woven wrong, and, woven once, disbraided, sits // like Halloween before a child, disguised in its red / Santa suit, making its lap loom the poppy field // Dorothy wants to bed. Can I have and the song's begun." The need to account is explored in urgent tropes of work, finance, and commercial exchange throughout the book. Her poems sizzle with all the stuff of the world that beguiles and betrays; she enlarges lyric possibility with her close observation of the ordinary, reveling in the texture of naming. …

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