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Memory and Desire by Gregory Luce

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 38 pgs.
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Memory and Desire by Gregory Luce is an undulating collection of poems filled with the roller coaster ride of desire and love, but also the tricky thing we call memory. The opening poem, “Desire,” speaks of an empty vessel that is filled and emptied, flowing in and out with the tidal waves of want. But like the vessel, an “indifferent” moon is pushing and pulling the waves – desire is everywhere. In the second poem, “Poem Beginning With a Found Line,” there’s the inkling of a chance meeting that doesn’t happen. But the lives of these two people run in parallel throughout. It’s one of those “what if” poems and it’s aching with longing.

Luce’s love poems in this collection will have readers sighing with longing and joy, especially with beautiful lines like “She could turn/and slide sideways/like a trick of the light./” in “Love Story.” (pg. 5) Or in “The Mechanism of Joy,” where “she floats in/all legs and tresses/clothes billowing as/light pours in/from every direction/and dust motes pulse/like electric particles/moving up the back/of my neck…/” (pg. 17-18)

But there’s also a sense of being adrift, too. In “Torn from a Notebook,” a narrator rushes through a subway station alone, “On the train you are/jostled, shaken, a dry/stick fallen away/from the bundle.//” (pg. 10) One of my favorite poems, “The wish to be an insect,” is so reminiscent of Kafka, I couldn’t help but imagine it — a man as an insect scurrying around. Something I’ve often wondered about traveling in the city full of people rushing here and there. There’s a loneliness in that scurrying, but also a sense of community and belonging – at least the desire for it.

Memory and Desire by Gregory Luce was a delightful read and full of surprising images and desires. Definitely includes some poems you’d want to read to someone you love, but it also includes some reflective pieces about belonging and community.

RATING: Cinquain

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About the Poet:

Gregory Luce is the author of the chapbooks Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications) and Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press), and the collection Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications). His poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Kansas Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Innisfree Poetry Review, If, Northern Virginia Review, Foundling Review, MiPOesias, Praxilla, Little Patuxent Review, The Rusty Nail, Rising Tide Review, Cactus Heart, Faircloth Review, and in the anthologies Living in Storms (Eastern Washington University Press) and Bigger Than They Appear (Accents Publishing). He lives in Washington, D.C., where he works as Production Specialist for the National Geographic Society. When not working or writing poems, he enjoys reading, birdwatching, hiking, bicycling, and spending time with his sons, Alex and Theo.

Comments

  1. Love the sound of the line about “legs and tresses”

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