spuytenduyvil

mothmouth

Haley Wooning

 

ISBN 978-1-947980-96-9     146 pages        $15.00

 

"Some flax ghost of rare light"—what is this space? Grief and (day)dreaming. Love and longing. Human capacity out in a garden constructed from "predatory fog" and clamor[s] of the otherworld." I lean into the "pre-world owls"—myself a "witch I am"—right alongside the speaker. The commas are land-forms—inciting space and changes within the environment of a largely lyric wind. A true Widdershin. My shins are aching from the hike—the meander—the wander. There is room for every manner of traversal. Smooth the welter. Strangely shamanic—but so—as if out on reddening and burgeoning (live) cliffs within or as a circle of yodling and cackling women. All of the flowers growing up from ash. Are these fragments woven together by heartbreak and heartbeat and heartthrob? There is romance to the tongue. The figures—so many figures. As if a lover could emerge from any facet of the poetics of Earth tones—of a robust ape in flow.

        jj hastain

mothmouth flutters across tongue in lyric mist, imagist bliss. Wefting in the tradition of Sappho and H.D., Haley Wooning’s debut collection is an earthy and ethereal palimpsest, each line replete with layered longing. Lovers leak out of the eaves, out of the ether. Wooning woos us here, in the perpetual blue hour. In her deft hands, poetry once again embodies an eternal hue. We can’t help but follow this vulnerable, venerable I, donning a neoclassical cloak with a roaring feral edge: “I bury my body, I dance/ in spells/ of wolfskin.” She leads us by the lyre down to Underworld of sublime subconscious—mournfully mellow—“the mouth is quick with coffins.” Hazy and hungry, we follow the blood-trail of lost heroines, “Helen wanders the edges,” —“where are you going, Antigone?” We wonder “what history am I in?”—“daughter, bringer, griever” seeking Self through communion with a myriad muses—regenerated lives trace “the urn of my origin.” “winged/Eros” embraces lacuna, romancing the invisible, “in loving what I cannot touch.” Here is a magic spell to whisper when the world is too much with us; “hillock, hoarfrost, hush”—“do not forsake that which is tender”—”a song skinned of lyre”—These soulful songs hum in bones long after the lyre stops shaking.

        Heather Woods

Haley Wooning lives in California with her partner and their cat, Puck.