MILK, BY DOROTHEA LASKY
From Wave Books, comes curdling through life-stuff, Dorothea Lasky’s fifth full-length collection of poetry, Milk—in various shades of blue, green, red and cream. “Milk it connects,” Lasky tells us. From "Twin Peaks" and Anne Sexton’s ghost to breastfeeding and miscarriages, Milk’s subjects swirl across the page, swimming between iconic and intimate scopes. “You say you let yourself go / Maybe you didn’t / Maybe you should squeeze out / Everything you have,” and her speaker does, moving at a speed that doesn’t always wait for the reader. Lasky’s collection is one of reinvention. Here modern tropes and archetypes are baptized and reborn, often by fusing, where motherhood bleeds into fairytale but in a slithery shade of green. Her speaker longs for some other time (but what time?) while so very stuck in the present, forcing her to confront belonging, aging and current day-to-day: “I write down words in my room / For a thousand hours and no likes // So, instead of the Internet I will make a shop…In my dirty leopard coat it will be 1992 forever.”
For all the humor and sneer, Lasky’s poems tread the waters of stark fears of mortality, propagation, and innate monstrosity: “the trap of your life / Is that you’re trapped in this body / And even though you search / For twenty to eighty years for the demon . . .The demon / Is you.” Yet, somehow, her speaker carries on through all life’s suffering—by the cosmic force of Lasky’s lyric and whimsy, “Because despite it all / She lived / You know” and so, with Milk, readers may find kaleidoscopic stories for survival too.
—Review by Madeline Vardell