The Transit of Venus
Author: Susan Firer
Publisher: Backwaters Press (2016)
In Firer's poems, place, often the western shore of Lake Michigan, provides an imagistic and sonic landscape in which language explores the 'empire of skin' with its daily happinesses and sorrows, gifts and losses. Often blue light illuminates these poems and frequently the language of a Catholic childhood shows up. Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams's poems say 'Use everything,' and Firer does: receipts, anatomy, astronomy, clothes poles, paintings, checklists, quagga mussels, questions and grapefruit. Birds fly through these poems, insights too: 'For a minute / we are disguised / as human.' That quote concisely sums up Firer's main attentions: transience and time and with what and how we fill our brief time here on earth.