The Wilderness, Sandra Lim

TheWilderness_mech_F.inddGoosebumps. Goosebumps everywhere, people. In her second book of poems, Sandra Lim offers readers a quiet, yet daring book. It’s chilling, thoughtful, and full of beautiful, yet grotesque images. One of the poems that really warmed me up to this collection was “Envoi: Lazarus.”

“Lazarus woke to the miracle of no longer fearing failure. / He lifted his two sides from the ground as he tried / To speak, one part gathering darkness, one part humming” (lines 1-3).

I really love the simplicity of this poem, and the contemplative tone that seems to be behind many of the poems in The Wilderness.

One of the more playful poems in the collection is titled “At The Other End Of A Wire” and reads “When he called, there were 261 emotions / at play. I thought there was only wistfulness, / humiliation, and mere bitterness left, but lo / I see now the brilliance in the numbers” (lines 1-4).

As a poet, I avoid numbers at all costs, but the playful and unique use of numbers in “At The Other End Of A Wire” to capture a tough conversation that the speaker is having is beautiful and captivating. Other poems in this collection that I enjoyed were “Snowdrops,” “The Vanishing World,” and “The Dark World.”

The entire collection is 96 pages, which are split into four sections. The cover is dark, yet fascinating and eerie, which matches the tone of many of the poems in the collection. Prepare to spend some time with this one, because the poems are oftentimes philosophical, so it is not to be rushed through. And why would you want to, anyway? The poems are too good.

(Photo Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company)

Buy the collection here.

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