Inventory of Doubts by Landon Godfrey

Source: Publisher
Paperback, 84 pgs.
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Doubts follow us in our daily lives, much like the little devils on the shoulders of cartoon characters. Listing our doubts in a journal or simply writing a list when we tackle something new or challenge ourselves can help reduce our anxiety and fear. Landon Godfrey explores these ideas in the collection, Inventory of Doubts, but rather than rely on a human voice, Godfrey has anthropomorphized objects like a feather boa, a dishrag, a box, and many others.

In her prose-like stories, these objects come alive, they become more than the discarded thing. An antique inkwell is not as sophisticated or as academic as it is perceived, and the attic stuffed with discarded items that we no longer care for wishes to be eaten away by termites so it could see the sky and be in awe. Godfrey has collected the uncollectable — silence. We know these objects and their purposes because we have assigned them, but in the silence, is that all that they are? Only what we’ve determined them to be? “Unable to fit in anyone’s pocket, a jealous boulder considers cures for loneliness while it pauses on a cliff.” (“Boulder,” pg. 7)

These objects are stand-ins. They are placeholders for greater questions about our own purposes and our own determinations of what is good and useful and what is to be praised and what is to be frowned upon. Like the dishrag that “experiments with justice, releasing some moisture back into the freedom of air, while retaining a few drops of water indefinitely in a grease-guarded cell.” (pg. 17) Our own experiments, like that of the dishrag, often do not have the best results, but there is always time for change, for reparations. Just like the rag, we too can be reshaped and given new purpose.

Godfrey’s Inventory of Doubts are as fantastical as they are rooted in our own realities. Our conversations with ourselves and our constant “little voices” often have us running in circles or falling into circular patterns of logic, leaving us little room to expand. This collection is an exploration of the human condition: “The seep and clot of it. The furtive fingers of it. The blob and spread of it. The orgy of it. The impossible to remove of it.” (“Stain,” pg. 64) Gloriously imaginative, surprising, and haunting.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

Landon Godfrey is the recipient of a 2013 Regional Artist Project Grant and a 2011-2012 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship. In selecting her first book, “Second-Skin Rhinestone-Spangled Nude Soufflé Chiffon Gown,” for the Cider Press Review Book Award, David St. John writes, “Never has the sumptuous materiality of language felt more seductive than in Landon Godfrey’s remarkable debut collection, ‘Second-Skin Rhinestone-Spangled Nude Soufflé Chiffon Gown.’ These exquisite poems are both sensually compelling and intellectually rigorous—a rare feat indeed. The iridescence of this marvelous volume continues to glow long after one has turned out the lights.” Printed at Asheville BookWorks, a limited edition letterpress chapbook, “In the Stone: Three Prose Poems,” will be published in Spring 2013. Landon’s poems have appeared in journals and anthologies—including The Southeast Review, Lyric, Chelsea, POOL, Studium in Polish translation, and Best New Poets 2008—featured at Verse Daily and Broadsided, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her prose on poetry has been published by Q Avenue Press and Gulf Coast, and is forthcoming from Voltage Poetry. Born and raised in Washington, DC, she now lives in Black Mountain, NC, with her husband, poet Gary Hawkins.


  1. Wow, this sounds very unique. Great review!

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