Kathleen Driskell’s Next Door To The Dead (University Press of Kentucky)
Driskell’s poetry in this volume is not limited to the grave yard next door to her home in a converted country church just outside Louisville. And sometimes it’s downright light-hearted.
“Love Poetry,” for instance, tells the story of Dante Gabriel Rossetti burying some of his best love poems along with the body of his adored young wife. Years later, having not made copies, the poet hires “two scruff-bearded men with shovels” to dig the poems back up. While digging, the men surprise themselves with thoughts of their own loves. One hums a hymn while the other barks at the sky. The poem concludes: “While all must know the lesson / that life must go on, a few had learned / so will love, and, others / had learned, so much art.”
Driskell writes an “Epitaph For Colonel Sanders” (whose body we all know is buried in Cave Hill), who was so smart “to retail each spicy secret!” Driskell’s poems also can be biting (no pun intended), as in the one for the Colonel’s wife, Claudia, whose all too brief inscription “reads as if they’d said, ‘fuck it, let’s just throw her bones into this old bucket.’”
More on new poems by Kathleen Driskell (center below) next time.