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Publishers Weekly: Review of Vulgar Remedies

A wild best friend from the poet’s teen years, “your hoarder aunt,” “my young mother… brunette/ in a blue velour day robe,” a “Tooth Fairy Pillow,” and “a dress that clings/ like a Jackson night, late summer—strapless,// black crepe”: the people from a family romance, and the objects that focus their memories, make this compelling second outing from Journey (If Birds Gather Your Hair For Nesting) at once a delight for the senses and a high-speed trip through her past. Journey packs her poems with long sentences and their emotional overload: “When I’m the girl who daydreams// her own funeral, then asks you about the salivary/ habits of ponies, that hissing Shetland,// Princess, muzzles up.” So boldly rendered, such sketches from memory—some from long ago, some from recent travels with a husband or fiancée—make Journey at her finest a kind of Southern Gothic answer to Laura Kasischke, with the same zigzag free verse, the same connections to her younger selves. At the same time Journey’s special topics—extended family, animals, insomnia, folklore, rendered in animated contemporary diction—make her verse no dead ringer for anyone else’s.

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