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2012-12TheBeautyMarkby Ilya Kaminsky


“The imperfect is our paradise,” Wallace Stevens reminds us, but how lucky we are to have in these poems of Suzanne Cleary-Langley another reminder—that “we seldom forget our dead when we laugh,” and that “dancing the polka is like walking / on a ship’s deck / during a storm…each time the ship / tilts, you take two hop-like /steps.”


Beauty bedevils, she tells us, but the beauty-mark bedevils beauty. And this is exactly what her lyric voice is doing in this book of poems that bewitch and stun, knowing that in the end, although we are not the ones who said “our little life is rounded with a sleep,” we too, have taken “the very earth / into our mouth…mortal, mortal, mortal.”