Beauty Like A Rope
by Leslie St. John
52 pages, May 2012
Published by Word Palace Press
Designed by Benjamin Daniel Lawless
Leslie St. John writes lyrical, entrancing poems.
~ Kevin Clark, Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts
“My body has been hostage to an idea,” cries Leslie St. John, and even though this charismatic woman never loses touch with the physical fact of the body in the world, she is at her essence a metaphysical poet. “I’d like to rename every body part,” she insists in the first poem here, in the hope that doing so may bring her “one day nearer to what is unnamable.” It’s a brave imagination that can face the body it lives in as both vehicle and obstacle, and a strong mind that can transcend that dualism. But having lost one eye in an absurd accident (”She Washed My Hair” tells the harrowing story), Leslie St. John has let the poet in her see with a unique third eye, one that sees with an accurate, compassionate, wisdom-inviting gaze. Her language is contemporary, precise and warm with breathing; her poems offer a music that sounds intimate even when one read aloud alone. Of special note is the heartbreaking “Elegy for John Mark, 2002-2004,” a sequence on the death of a nephew that turns at the end toward an unearthly lyrical beauty. But in Leslie St. John’s world, beauty is like a rope: it can rescue or kill.
~ Jim Cushing