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LitStyle Book Review Only More So by Millicent Borges Accardi


ONLY MORE SO BY Millicent Borges Accardi

Reviewed by Joshua Escobar

Salmon Poetry, 2017
Page count: 78


If we can be endlessly changed and confused by the world, then the poems of Millicent Borges Accardi’s Only More So show what we are really made of, for her lines ignite everything they touch. World War II, college field trips to the Mojave Desert, Christmas in Mojacar, reflections on her family—these poems move across disparate histories, geographies, and people. Yet their revelations are singular. In “Coupling,” she writes,

She thought she had a talent for being aloof.
On him, she made few demands.
When he was away, she imagined
his heart open, fearless
hands holding a piece of wood steady
while a diamond-point blade cut through.

To me the poem explores the delusional underpinnings of love. In “The Night of Broken Glass,” she writes,

The essential business of living well
Continues in shock waves
That falls into the ground of innocent
People, triggered inside a soul
Of nothingness that pretended
To solve an impossible equation.

Her poems seem to cross the limits of understanding, of “impossible equation,” never shying away from irresolution. Other poems are social portraits. Take, for instance, “This is What People Do,”

They move to Mukilteo and throw
pots or play on the senior soccer league.
They set up a weight room and deliver cellular
phones. They get proverbially married and
have hope for children, saying this generation
will be different. They watch Little House on
the Prairie and cry when Mary goes blind.

This poem brilliantly renders cosmopolitan careerism and conceitedness. “In a Certain Village” portrays Little Red Riding Hood’s neighbors, dumbfounded that a wolf could appear in the woods in broad daylight.  Altogether they shed ignorance along with bliss. In “Buying Sleep” about the rare display of compassion from her brother, and in “Breaking with the Old,” which incorporates lines from the New Bedford Dictionary, I came to understand the ways in which bliss and misery intertwine.

How does one begin to exist in our modern oblivion? Accardi does by exploring the realities of different kinds of pain. These formally humble poems bare such intellectual virtuosity and emotional complexity. They allow us to witness, if not always understand, the various manifestations of malevolence and kinship of our last century.  

About the Reviewer:

Joshua Escobar publishes poetry as DJ Ashtrae, and he comes from San Bernardino, California. He was the Dean’s Fellow in Writing at the MFA Program at Bard College (Class of 2017). No, Dear/Small Anchor Press published his debut chapbook Caljforkya Voltage last fall. He is a CantoMundo Fellow and lives in Brooklyn with dj lil piñata



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