By Lynette G. Esposito
Lauren Clark’s Music for a Wedding published by the University of Pittsburgh Press presents 82 pages of reminiscent poetry with visual images and interpretations of every day occurrences and locations..
Vijay Seshardi, Judge says Clark’s poems take the reader into “a relationship with the invisible and the ineffable, bringing image and language (as if by magic) to the page and to the reader.” Take for example on page one in an untitled poem:
This generalization brings this sorrow to the heart my naming a place, the kitchen, in the next stanza and the bedroom thereafter where the narrator measures her lover with the palm of her hand so that when he is gone, she can remake him. He does not awaken.
In Aubade on page 32, she takes the reader to the bathroom and we all know what goes on in there. Yet, she graphically shows the act of recreation with our panties down and in the washing of hands…reproducing the life it has known. She visualizes a common act with judgment and appraisal about how life works.
On page 63, the narrator takes us into the bathroom again in the poem Afterfeast.
It is not the bathroom but the commonness of the room where there should be privacy for all things and where one should be alone. As presented, the reader finds the illumination of the white bathroom light and the realization about interpreting absolute aloneness.
She ends this poetry tome with Illinois in Spring, outside and thinking of endings.
The natural elements of air and water and reaching a conclusion for this narrator is panic. A reader cannot help but react to this image because it happens so often and to so many beside lake, and rivers and oceans.
Clark is an effective writer juxtaposing the common with the uncommon and twisting the images to fit a fluid form. She leaves the window open for the lace curtains to fiddle in the breeze to form a shadowed pattern on the mind of the reader. This is a good read for lovers of poetry.
Lauren Clark holds a B.A. in classics from Oberlin College and an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan. Music for a Wedding is the winner of the 2016 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry.
It is available at www.upress.pitt.edu
Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University, Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University. Her articles have appeared in the national publication, Teaching for Success; regionally in South Jersey Magazine, SJ Magazine. Delaware Valley Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poetry has appeared in US1, SRN Review, The Fox Chase Review and other literary magazines. She has critiqued poetry for local and regional writer’s conferences and served as a panelist and speaker at local and national writer’s conferences. She lives with her husband, Attilio, in Mount Laurel, NJ.