Genève Chao reviews “The Missing Museum” by Amy King

 

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Amy King’s irascible and incantatory sprawlfest, The Missing Museum, which won the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Prize (a fact which alone makes it the Heavyweight Champ of World Poetry as that year’s TS Prize anointed literal dozens of books of astonishing breadth and beauty as finalists and semifinalists), begins with a one-poem prologue/manifesto, the beautiful, frustrating “Wake Before Dawn & Salt the Sea,” which reads like a sonnet that refuses to restrain itself to quite the syllables required and yet still manages to convey precision and restraint, and which tells a reader everything about poetry: explicitly, that it is useless, it is fuckworthy, it is love; implicitly, it is the only choice that can be made by this glib, driven, passionate, jaded speaker, or anyone with any intelligence and heart. It is a warning and a dare: “We are not edges of limbs or the heart’s smarts only.” It is a fitting introduction to this book of poems that, as it demands, wrestle and make love, and which unsurprisingly leave the reader breathless, dazzled, exhausted, and slightly bruised. Continue reading