Failure to Thrive

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Suzannah Showler’s collection of poems, Failure to Thrive, has a tone of hopelessness. The poems often peer at the world gruesomely, defying conventional punctuation. None of the poems rhyme or contain any type of structure, and depend on imagery to be smart. At less than 100 pages, the book contains poetry with many different disjointed structures. In her notes at the end, Showler writes that her “found” poem “Thirteen Subcategories” was, at one point, the subcategories filed under “Accidental Death” on Wikipedia. I thought this was a unique approach to poetry, and it made me realize that poetry can be found anywhere, even in some strange corners of the Internet.

My favorite poem, “Whale Fall,” depicts what happens to a whale after it dies. Showler describes the whale’s descent to the ocean floor, fish nibbling at the whale’s dead flesh and the salt water pickling it before it reaches the bottom. The last stanza makes a bold statement about the whale’s death in connection with human death, “abyssal, superlative with all-dark,/ an absence too thorough/ to be imagined in a living body.” Showler’s poetry is gritty and surreal, forcing the reader to consider the dark, but brilliant occurrences in life.


Reviewed By:

Author Suzannah Showler
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 96 pages
Publisher ECW Press
Publish Date 2014-Apr-15
ISBN 9781770412026
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2014
Category Poetry & Short Stories
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