Love, an Index (Hardcover)
Author: Rebecca Lindenberg
Publisher: McSweeney's (2012)
A man disappears. The woman who loves him is left scarred and haunted. In her fierce, one-of-a-kind debut, Rebecca Lindenberg tells the story—in verse—of her passionate relationship with Craig Arnold, a much-respected poet who disappeared in 2009 while hiking a volcano in Japan. Lindenberg’s billowing, I-contain-multitudes style lays bare the poet’s sadnesses, joys, and longings in poems that are lyric and narrative, at once plainspoken and musically elaborate.
Regarding her role in Arnold’s story, Lindenberg writes with clear-eyed humility and endearing dignity: “The girl with the ink-stained teeth / knows she’s famous / in a tiny, tragic way. / She’s not / daft, after all.” And then later, playfully, of her travels in Italy with the poet, her lover: “The carabinieri / wanted to know if there were bears / in our part of America. Yes, we said, / many bears. Man-eating bears? Yes, of course, / many man-eating bears.” Every poem in this collection bursts with humor, pathos, verve—and an utterly unique, soulful voice.
"Love, an Index is an utterly startling, muscular, heartbreaking book—poems pulled into existence by an event anyone who reads them wants only to reverse. Yet facing the irreversible fully, and still finding words, is what poems do. They demonstrate what it is to go on. I wish this book were not here to be read. But it is. And be read it will, with gratitude, stopped breath, amazement."
"Is it Northrop Frye that defines the lyric poet as someone whispering to herself or to a lover, a ghost? These poems enact that sort of intimacy. Prayers, love letters, reveries—they feel overheard in a way that makes this poet’s innovations (as in the title poem or ‘Illuminating’ or ‘Losing Language: A Phrasebook for Beginners’ or ‘Love, n1.’) feel natural and necessary. Love, an Index is a terrific litany of losses and retrievals. These poems recover, reclaim, remake the elegy form. They give it a soundtrack that is both blue and celebratory and careening at the slant of love. Rebecca Lindenberg’s work stuns me."