Michelle Recommends: Space Struck – Paige Lewis (National Poetry Month)

Paige Lewis’ Space Struck claimed a high spot on my list of top five poetry collections released in 2019. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve returned to its pages, to various poems, to single lines. (The entire collection is a standout, but to name just a few of the poems I particularly loved: “The Moment I Saw a Pelican Devour,” “When I Tell My Beloved I Miss the Sun,” and “God’s Secretary, Overworked.”) This remarkable collection is available via Hoopla.

About Space Struck:

This astonishing, self-assured debut leads us on an exploration to the stars and back, begging us to reconsider our boundaries of self, time, space, and knowledge. The speaker writes, “…the universe/is an arrow/without end/and it asks only one question;/How dare you?”

Zig-zagging through the realms of nature, science, and religion, one finds St. Francis sighing in the corner of a studio apartment, tides that are caused by millions of oysters “gasping in unison,” an ark filled with women in its stables, and prayers that reach God fastest by balloon. There’s pathos: “When my new lover tells me I’m correct to love him, I/realize the sound isn’t metal at all. It’s not the coins rattling/ on concrete, but the fingers scraping to pick them up.” And humor, too: “…even the sun’s been sighing Not you again/when it sees me.” After reading this far-reaching, inventive collection, we too are startled, space struck, our pockets gloriously “filled with space dust.”