May 24, 2012
Considering Our 'Dead Things' -- On a Review of 'Kingdom Animalia'
Having received heaps of praise since its publication, Aracelis Girmay’s Kingdom Animalia is a focus of interest once more, in the May 2012 issue of Gently Read Literature: Reviews of Contemporary Poetry & Literary Fiction. Reviewer Michelle Ovalle singles out Girmay’s poem “This Morning the Small Bird Brought a Message From the Other Side,” pulling from it two powerful lines she believes sum up the book as a whole: “I want to know what to do / with the dead things we carry.” In a compelling and astute interpretation of the lines, Ovalle reminds us that Girmay’s “dead things” are not limited to the tangible, but include waning feelings, relationships, memories, elements of childhood.
Readers and reviewers are always fascinated by Girmay’s ability to see entire realities as animal. Ovalle says that Girmay “makes use of animal imagery to breathe life into the abstract.” Throughout our lives, we grow, lose, acquire, and forget…Ovalle appears to relish in the idea that Girmay’s animal-lens is not used merely to reflect the sheer nature of the wild world, but to express the wonder and awe humanity gains and relinquishes from childhood to adulthood. What do we do with the hollow shells and shadows of past emotions, loves, memories? Ovalle would call Kingdom Animalia an exploration of such a question.
Click here to read Kingdom Animalia.
Click here to read the perceptive review.