The beauty of a simple machine is its ability to accomplish something extraordinary simply: a pen, say, some paper, and the capacity to leap headfirst into the realm of the imagination. Laurel Snyder’s verse is a simple machine in itself, and this collection finds the author combining playful syntax, simple, direct language and a few ethereal prose poems to create a sum that is as profound as its component poems.
Snyder often examines the tender seesaw of human emotions and existence, and is capable of inspiring incredible empathy in the reader. Before we know it, we are a girl with a wolf on her back, a woman without a child, God the sloppy housewife. The line between life and death seems narrow in Snyder’s poems; joy and sorrow exist in parallel. But there’s always forward momentum, an impulse to grow or change. The speaker of “The Answer to the Puzzle” says that “things keep getting less lovely, but more interesting.” And like all great poetry, Snyder’s verse becomes lovelier and more profound with each encounter.