Someone You Love Is Still Alive

Someone You Love is Still Alive compels the reader to remember that they are, after all, still human. Despite a fractured world, a challenging experience of what it is to be a member of a global society, intimate connections still bind us. When the poet writes “My name is sometimes the wound, sometimes the weapon”, s/he makes a case for the twin in all of us, the twin of creation and destruction, of love and hate. The language in which the poems are grounded is rich, it is anti-performance and pro-reading, proving a sensitivity to the rhythms and meditativeness which are the tuning mechanisms of the finest poetry. The voice is authoritative but never harsh, and that most important consideration of all, tone, characterised by a mix of tenderly expressed feeling and a brave kind of horror at the state of the world. It is a poetry we as readers need.”

Mary O’Donnell

Someone You Love Is Still Alive is a beautiful book about love and survival in the in the face of institutions that work to make something as genuine as desire improbable. Ephraim Scott Sommers deftly takes on nation, religion, and even marriage itself. And when I say takes on, I mean that these poems find him asking how he dare enjoy the privilege of what he questions: “And I don’t know/what the bible/of my want for him/would even look like…” This is a gorgeous and dangerous book.

Jericho Brown

THIS IMPOSSIBLE KISS

In the dry fountain at the center
of the Sunken Gardens, on one foot,

a woman in a coat of living pigeons
holds her breath, and—hallelujah—

where always there is doubt,
I am not afraid to call this belief.

Soon, someone already ashamed says,
she will lift her arms

like a conductor,
and they’ll scatter right off

of her. We’ll be on our own
again. But think of them

together this second, Lover.
I know you, Lover,

a piece of something
about to unhold

but holding
while, everywhere, people say,

Look! The world’s wings
are coming apart.