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What Follows by H.R. Webster

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Paperback, 70 pgs.
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What Follows by H.R. Webster is a debut collection of poems that shed light on the darkness and the scars left in the wake of turbulence. The opening poem, “What Follows,” sets the tone immediately: “Every house I’ve ever lived in was filled with snakes./” and “The snakes I live with now leave/quieter marks.” (pg. 3)

These poems try to make sense of the darkness in the world, the men who catcall at every woman and the boys that love the danger of the flips and tumbles of the skate park. What follows that darkness, what’s left behind? Shame? Heartbreak? Desire? It’s not the harm or the dark emotions but the glimmer of light that remains, the hope of beauty and satisfaction. “Look at the stain/in the diamond. It’s not the thing itself,/but what’s left of the light that was swallowed./” (“Occlusion”, pg. 36)

What Follows by H.R. Webster explores the space in between the before and after trauma, reminding us that there is some light in the darkness. Her poems use language that doesn’t focus directly on the trauma. The poems state what the trauma isn’t, outlining the pain with pain that is easier to understand. Readers will learn so much in these poems, through the poet’s dark humor and explorations of deep desires and lashing out. It’s a deeply human collection that reflects on our darkest thoughts and feelings — many of which we bury deep.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Poet:

H.R. Webster has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, and the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work has appeared in the Massachusetts Review, Poetry Magazine, Black Warrior Review, Ninth Letter, 32Poems, Muzzle, and Ecotone.

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