In her second collection of poems, Wilder, Claire Wahmanholm navigates her readers through a richly chronicled though devastating world. These poems are inhabited by splitting lands and bodies, their speakers and lyricism propelled by the search for hope, for relief, for a better future. They hold such weight—as in the poem “Beginning,” where a speaker boldly implicates themselves and us: “Now we began to wonder whether we had done wrong things. Or rather, which of our wrong things had been wrong enough.”

Though the collection grapples with difficult subject matter, Wahmanholm’s careful curation of words and sounds cradle the reader in an assured, almost omniscient, voice. The internal rhyme and rhythm of these poems help us to carry them. So stricken by the sounds, I found myself reading out loud to hear, and hear again, the stories Wahmanholm is telling us—or rather, reminding. The poems in Wilder are powerful and compelling, interested not only in confronting the rifts in our history and landscape, but connecting us to each other.

Milkweed Editions.

— Review by Emma Jones