Amy Fleury’s bewitching new collection of poems, Sympathetic Magic, unveils the everyday manifestations of sympathy as well as the connections wrought by “sympathetic magic”—that indelible tether that binds people, places, and objects across time and distance. Fleury’s lyrics journey across the landscapes of childhood and old age, body and spirit, past and future, explorinAmy Fleury’s bewitching new collection of poems, Sympathetic Magic, unveils the everyday manifestations of sympathy as well as the connections wrought by “sympathetic magic”—that indelible tether that binds people, places, and objects across time and distance. Fleury’s lyrics journey across the landscapes of childhood and old age, body and spirit, past and future, exploring the boundless permutations of sympathy as it appears in the most surprising locations. Connections reveal themselves in the aggressive silence of the small town or the round penmanship of a loved one, and echo throughout the solitude and regeneration of the forest as well as the antiseptic air of the hospital. At the center of these travels lies the narrator, stretching her limbs from the heart of the heartland, her body a compass summoning us from all directions, emphasizing with tender simplicity that “we all live under the self-same moon, no matter the phase.” ...
|Number of Pages||:||80 Pages|
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Sympathetic Magic Reviews
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Good poetry does one of three things for me. First, it basks the mundane in the brightest of lights. Suddenly I can see all those things I'd never noticed before: the crevices of a freshly made sheet atop a bed, the creases within an outstretched hand, the hopelessness in a can of baked beans. Second, it tells a story. In a mere thirty or forty lines, the rhythm gives way to a tale some prose writers take 100,000 words to tell. Lastly, it moves me. A good poem has the power to reach my soul and make me weep (or occasionally smile). If a poem succeeds in regards to only one of these areas, I consider it a success.Amy Fleury's collection Sympathetic Magic is certainly strong in two, if not all three, of these areas. First of all, the language is phenomenal. I'd say this is Fleury's greatest poetic skill. She can reshape those everyday events and make them so beautiful. She can dissect a dead and forgotten object and breathe new life into it. I love the sound of these poems, as well as the colors they paint. As far as story, there are several poems in this collection that not only told a complete story, but a captivating one. I was pulled into these tales. Now, in regards to a poem that moves me, there is certainly considerable heart on display in Sympathetic Magic. I could see it, but unfortunately it never quite struck my emotional chords. The issue was no fault of the authors, but rather a disconnect between myself and the subject; those poems which were truly the most heartfelt regarded the physical and mental deterioration of a parent. I saw the heart beating deep in these poems, but I couldn't personally find the pulse. There's probably a reason for this, but I'll leave this for my psychologist to chew over.This is a great collection. If you love poetry or just the beauty of words, I highly recommend it.
As the title poem announces, "Sometimes what is needed comes to hand." These poems are both needed and close at hand. Amy Fleury's voice is never overly intellectual, never too familiar. These poems are calm and contemplative, yet they bring necessary images to life, whether it is through the exploration of minutiae from a Kansas landscape like the "First Morel" or the touching encounter between father and daughter in "Ablution" or the perception of nuns and saints in their "Niches." It is great to see a poet who vacillates so dexterously between intensely personal poems and poems of complete objectivity. Read these poems whether you are in "the waters of loving" or "the sump of loss" or somewhere between. They will do you good.
So few of these poems reached me. So often the effort that went into alliterative and assonant word choices emerged, transparent and heavy. Sympathetic magic is calculated, unsubtle — but it is still magic. Or it should be.One piece, though, moved me. A few months ago after a class on book history I wound my way down to the city and spent ages in everyone's favorite secondhand bookstore, poring over the bodies of the store's elderly residents in search of clues about their creation, their lives. I left pensive and happy, pausing outside a shoe store to text my husband. Mine is a dumbphone, slow and cheap and unwieldy, and it requires all my attention to communicate even the briefest message. So I didn't think much of the guy approaching me until he collapsed at my feet, arms stiff against his chest, body quaking.Another girl who'd witnessed his descent — like the cartoon tilt of a chopped tree: timber! — met my eyes. She rang emergency services while one of his friends cradled him, offering reassurance and stability. (I was frozen, eyes wet with shock. I still feel shame thinking of this, my uselessness.) Passersby stopped and stared, uncertain. Some pointed and laughed; the worried friend lashed out at them. Yes, he's bleeding. It looks as though he has bitten his tongue. No, he doesn't have a history of seizures. I snapped out of my daze long enough to add that he had not landed on his head. Thank goodness for that defensive, reflective folding of arms.He was still for a while, and then a backfiring bus startled him into consciousness again. It was pure terror: why am I on the ground? Who are all these people staring at me? Make them stop. It was my first time witnessing a seizure. It was his first time experiencing one.Grand MalThe aura comes on, and your face,almost becalmed, dims and strays.It begins with a twitch, your headquirking to the side, and thenan electric arc spasms the bodyinto gnashings and flailingsand thrashings, and she triesto keep you from falling,but you do fall, an ugly thudon the floor, where she kneelsto blunt, as best she can,your self-punishing fistsand fitful kicks, saying your name.And from your mouth comesa primal, torn-open sound,and like a thunderous daywith little rain, your contortionsbegin to quieten and quell,and at last you lay slackand insensible with your shouldersbruised and a bloody tongue.But mercifully you won't rememberthese halting minutes when you goso deep into yourself it seems to heryou might not, might never, return.Honorary mentions to "Verdure" and "Pacheco Burn." But mostly Fleury and her words passed me by, their magic mere parlor tricks.
I loved this collection, and definitely agree with one of the quotes on the back that says people who don't enjoy poetry could definitely enjoy this. The language is simple, the imagery you create especially in the nature poems is beautiful. I really enjoyed the read, thank you for the book.
Clean, strong, elegant, and beautiful. The blurb from Kooser is right: These are poems for everyone, even dumb-head fiction writers.
Stunning, in the actual sense of the word. After reading each poem, I was immobilized. Word choice, sound and rhythm impeccable, as always.