USEREVIEW 041 (Capsule): A Map of Rain Days
A Map of Rain Days (Guernica Editions, 2020)
ISBN 978-1-771834-41-4 | 128 pp | $20 CAD
“My mother’s toes are / crooked and curled / in a misguided, arthritic map / of rain days,” writes Jennifer Hosein in the eponymous poem of her debut collection, A Map of Rain Days. In these lines there is a conflation of body and world, but also of space and time. Time becomes an entity that is spatially translatable and cartographically organizable. This is a conceit that manifests in a variety of ways over the course of the book, with the speaker’s personal history folding, unfolding, refolding in non-chronological complexity, often as not invoked by a particular locale being seen or remembered. Like rain, which comes and goes, is here and not, but is always, always (and necessarily) returning, the speaker’s suffering is not presented as a phenomenon that she will progress beyond or definitively escape from. There is no world without rain, and trauma is a recurrent (but never ceaseless or omnipresent) element of the speaker’s environment. Alternating between vivacious and restrained, Hosein’s poems are alive to the panoply of human experience.
Check out “Spark,” a poem about a fraught relationship, which displays an emotional range that is both expansive, nuanced and tightly-controlled.