Oil Slick Dreams, book cover, Jennifer Collins, Finishing Line Press
Oil Slick Dreams by Jennifer L. Collins
On 01/25/2016 | 0 Comments
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Reviewed by Emily Shearer, Poetry Editor

 

We are proud to announce the release of a new chapbook by Minerva Rising poet Jennifer Collins, whose work was featured in Issue #3. Oil Slick Dreams is now available from Finishing Line Press at www.finishinglinepress.com .  Pre-order sales are being taken through January 29th, and these will determine the full press-run. Here in the Minerva community, we love to support our writers and all of their efforts, not just the ones within our own pages. All of us here love to see our writers succeed, so please support Jennifer as her book goes to press.

In the words of poet, songwriter, author and educator Regie Gibson, “in Oil Slick Dreams, Collins gives us both the language of vulnerability and the argument of the hunted, haunted ‘clichéd heart’. In bold lyricism she is not ashamed to issue conditions under which she, as an adult, will believe in prayer. This is the work of a gifted and sensitive poet; each poem in Oil Slick Dreams is a sliver of ‘silent starshine’ that, when gathered together in one volume, accrete into a black light under which our most abstracted desires and ‘manufactured brutalities’ fluoresce.”

The crux of the collection comes early, when the poet tells us

Invented memories may be just as fashionable as the real thing,           if given time to foster truth and mature: either can lead
to the same solid structure, or an equally charred truth.

Truths are charred, lives are overcast by fairy tale shadows in which each of us, the hunter and the hunted, must “crawl from whatever caves of shadow we’ve inhabited.” These poems dance in shadows and echoes–of Eve, of a murdered gypsy’s last phone call – and in dreams that fill the void left by loneliness.

In the loosely linked series “Visions Elsewhere”, Collins invites her readers to find connection in association and memories and charges us to “Reword the world so far/ constructed in static”. The heretofore world may very well have been static for the figures she has written into it, but these lines are kinetic, painting vivid pictures of wounded souls, knotted in grace like a five-year-old’s Spiderman, baby, “all wrapped up in the waiting.”

Collins’ talent shines brightest in poems that display her use of inventive form, seen in “Knots of Grace”, “Figurations” (of aforementioned Spiderman action figure), and #9 in the “Visions Elsewhere” series. These are delineated prose poems, effectively using tab returns to set initial lines in relief against the larger body of the interior. “Visions Elsewhere, 9” uses this technique especially well in that the prosaic voice serves as stream of conscious exposure. Here, the third person we’ve been reading about thus far is revealed to actually be the speaker. This is what happens in the best and most relatable poems – we begin to see ourselves as Other. When #10 closes with the lines

 

I’m satisfied now reaching only my view
and being here, always before dawn,
breathing for these tremors of being understood.

we as readers are satisfied too.

To read more of these poems, purchase your copy of Oil Slick Dreams at www.finishinglinepress.com .  If you have been published in a previous or upcoming issue of Minerva Rising and have a new publication coming out that you would like to see reviewed here, please mailto:blog@minervarising.com.

 

 

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