139.1: Leigh Phillips:: The Men & Old Hag
22 April 2013
When we read Leigh Phillips's poems, we quickly find ourselves reading more than poems. We are reading a person's nerves. We, like the men behind liquor store counters in Phillips's first poem, come to know the speaker through her lyric meditations on living in the wake of losing something beautiful. These poems are deeply pained, and in reading that pain, we find that there is something at the bottom of it all, something redeeming about the act of exposing: “Ask me about the time I was angelic in 2006, and I'll tell you where she touched me. Ask me about the aurora borealis.” At the center of these poems is a belief in transformation through telling, that through bearing witness to ones own pain, rebirth can be made possible. Phillips sings dark, haunted songs that fall asleep on trains and wear language like skin. Poems that dream and drink. Poems humming electric that spark and pop when you touch them.