Author: Carrie Fountain
Publisher: Penguin (2021)
The poems in Carrie Fountain's third collection, The Life, exist somewhere, as Rilke says, between “our daily life” and “the great work”—an interstitial space where sidelong glances live alongside shouts to heaven. In elegant, colloquial language, Fountain observes her children dressing themselves in fledgling layers of personhood, creating their own private worlds and personalities, and makes room for genuine marvels in the midst of routine. Attuned to the delicate, fleeting moments that together comprise a life, these poems offer a guide by which to navigate the signs and symbols, and to pilot if not the perfect life, the only life, the life we are given.
“With its wonder at daily living, The Life lures you into its quiet world only to ignite in abundance, ferocity, and the aching truth of survival. Fountain's stunning poems illuminate the complexities of motherhood and marriage with a clear, lyrical voice that speaks to us all.”
“Life here has been caught, still squirming, on poet Fountain’s lines. She lets her haul go, releases and casts another line, one after another, big and little fish, small or wild or turning lines. Each catch released as if the fisher forgot her hunger for a split second and it came back, ravenous for her. This poet’s voice works the way any great art works: so beautiful it hurts maybe too much that it seems dangerous. But it’s not like 'any great art'—it’s this one book, this voice, this life, the only one we have. And this book changed it.”
“As the poet herself (mother, teacher, partner, citizen) must, these poems begin in chaotic dailiness, then swerve into sudden clarity of attention. They stun with pleasurable, often funny, at times devastating recognition. A single life, of one struggling, searching, being, becomes ‘the’ life: what is despite our differences common. We can all recognize each other and ourselves in these marvelous poems.”