Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens
Author: Corey Van Landingham
Publisher: Tupelo Press (2022)
Corey Van Landingham’s Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens brings lush language to bear on pressing questions about technology; the changing nature of communication, love, and friendship; and the social constructedness of the self. “If there is a future and I exist in it, if I built a dwelling with my own devices, moved there alone, what then of the body?” she asks. Van Landingham’s writing is marked by a uniquely baroque sensibility, and perhaps because of that, she has a gift for finding beauty in the most quotidian interactions.
As lyrical as they are incisive, her meditations on technology, politics, and other topical issues are quite singular in contemporary poetry. She writes in “Bad Intelligence,” “We named a drone Hermes, / after Herma, Greek for: prop, heap of stones, boundary / marker.” Unlike so many other writers who are considering our current cultural moment, Van Landingham’s work speaks to our desire for hope, beauty, and redemption. What’s more, her hopefulness is deeply rooted in history, antiquity, and a classical heritage. “We met among ruins,” she reminds us. This is a stunning book, and Van Landingham’s poems are as timely as they are timeless.
"In a world where drones are named for the messenger god, who is also the god of thieves, where a wedding celebration can be shattered by a missile fired by no one at all, in a world of destruction-by-proxy and a fever dream of omniscience, Corey Van Landingham gives us a beautiful, penetrating book of poems. These pages fairly shimmer with intelligence. And with something more important too: with insight that restores us to our senses."