Everyone needs a little sass and snark in their life, especially if it comes in the form of poetry. In “Mammal Room” poet Kristen Evans writes, “And while we’re at it, I’d like confirm that you are 11% my enemy.” The speaker in Mammal Room bravely explores feelings of sadness and loneliness, all while being accidentally funny. The poems are both universal and personal, and the speaker isn’t afraid to be cheeky.
Each section in “Mammal Room” seeks meaning in the most unlikely of places. The speaker attempts to navigate an oftentimes unstable environment, paving the way for thoughtful poems that surprise and surprise. In the poem “No, We Did Not Yield and Quiet” the speaker admits “To be honest I am here to break things” (line one). Later, the poem personifies longing. It reads: “Your longing / she had such fine calves and a violent nature, / a voice you couldn’t bear to hear” (lines 12-14). In so many poems, the speaker stands in the threshold of both fear and bravery.
Feeling mistrustful of both people and things, Mammal Room makes readers feel as if danger is always looming in the backgrounds of our lives. It’s an exploration of trust and the consequences of betrayal. The poem “In the Mammal Room” declares “If I tell you to protect this hope, you might give it up / for more attractive geography” (lines 9-10). Despite the speakers’ aggressive search for unity among the violent moments that shake her life, marks of tranquility shape Mammal Room in unique ways.
I think readers will find parts of themselves in Mammal Room. Although the collection is only 57 pages of poetry, I found myself coming back to poems like “When There is Nothing There, a Door Opens” and “Strategies of a Debatable Nature.” I love the size of the book, and I feel lucky to have been able to see Evans read from Mammal Room in July.
Cover of Mammal Room courtesy of SpringGun Press.
Buy Evans’ collection here.
View my interview with Evans by clicking here.