Following a lyrical account of meditations gleaned from her experience producing wine, an art she compares to the craft of poetry, Katrina Roberts of the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) savors Refuge (BOA, 2013) by Adrie Kusserow. “Writing poetry, like growing grapes, requires a particular attentiveness and faith," says Roberts, "a strange perseverance in the face of dismissal or anonymity, a marriage to patience with no promise of fruitfulness.” Roberts writes for the LARB poetry column "Tasting Notes," through which she offers "...mere sips, to whet the appetites of those who have not already discovered the poetic riches ... poets pour out." Comparing poetry to the deep and complex palate of fine wine, the review likens Refuge to "rust, hibiscus, macadam & muck; hints of bouillon & bergamot, glints of bright citrus astringence underscored by long low tones of compost, yeast & dust." This list—populated with equal measures of sweet and earthy fragrance, profuse life, the deathly touch of rot and abandonment, and the industrial textures of rusted metal and crushed paving stone—underscores the landscape of Kusserow’s book, which bridges the private and familial experiences of the poet at home—quiet moments, love and personal history, her children’s explorations of life, death and nature—with her refugee-aid and anthropological work abroad. According to Roberts, “Kusserow nimbly strings together lines between these two worlds.” The review calls Kusserow "masterful with metaphor," as she moves "knowingly from the sublime … to the horrific." "Refuge is a book of tears of both despair and joy ... This book reminds us how blessed sanctuary is." Read the full review from the Los Angeles Review of Books. Refuge is available at the BOA Bookstore.
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