From Publishers Weekly
Titled after the flight-data recording devices analyzed in plane-crash investigations, Belieu's forceful third collection examines the wreckage of interpersonal disaster, chiefly a nasty marital breakup: "there wasn't a ribald// particular I didn't come to know:// the yoga instructress on Valentine's Eve,/ the xeroxed erotica files// arranged by body part." The poems' formal composure belies an anger so thoroughgoing it threatens at times to become simplistic ("This day's so blue, so pretty, let's smash it under glass"), but an equally relentless black humor shows the poet knows she's acting out. Belieu (One Above, One Below,
2000) is also interested in how emotional extremity makes shameless performers of us all, an observation dramatized in the book's astonishing centerpiece, the longer poem "In the Red Dress I Wear to Your Funeral." Here the poet imagines a broken marriage as a car crash you only half survive, unleashing a fury so spectacular it takes on the dimensions of myth: "I lift my scarlet tail above your grave/ and let the idiot villagers take me/ in torchlight/ one by one by one by one...." (Nov.)
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About the Author
Erin Belieu was born and raised in Nebraska and educated at the University of Nebraska, Ohio State, and Boston University. She is the author of three collections of poetry. Her debut, Infanta, was selected for the National Poetry Series and named one of the best books of that year by Library Journal, the National Book Critics' Circle, and Washington Post.