Chronical of Lost Moments
by Lara Dolphin
21 poems ~ 35 pages
Price: $8.00 tax included
Publisher: Dancing Girl Press
To Order: Dancing Girl Press And Studio

Reviewed by Michael Escoubas

Among the many aphorisms uttered by Wallace Stevens is this gem: Poetry is a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right. I have always treasured that quote because it gets to the heart of poetry and why people write poetry. As I immersed myself in Lara Dolphin’s latest chapbook, Chronical of Lost Moments, I was impressed by Dolphin’s eye for detail and heart for the ironies of life. Her poetry demonstrates an affinity akin to Stevens. More on this later.

I lead with the poem which opens the collection: “As The Earth Regards the Anthropocene”:

         All our stuff (the concrete the asphalt
         the gravel the plastic) outweighs every
         living thing on the planet from the Pando
         aspens to the pygmy possum–
         creation waits for us and while it’s easy
         for gestures long-delayed like a greeting card
         lost in the mail or a flight stuck on the tarmac–
         it’s almost lunch and I’m at the donation center
         chatting with Dave as he helps unload a trunk
         full of gently-used clothes books and toys–
         he’s told me that he’s five months sober
         he won’t get the kids for the holiday
         I tell him about my job the long hours
         the low pay my car that won’t stay fixed
         so there we stand among the stuffed animals
         and kitchen appliances feeling
         the weight of the world on our shoulders.

The title segues into Dolphin’s themes: “Anthropocene” refers to human activity as it relates to climate and environment. I researched Pando aspens and the pygmy possum. A large Pando aspen grove in Utah is in grave danger from several outside influences. I did not know that this tree grove, with its lovely yellow foliage, is the single largest organism in the world and has been around for thousands of years.

There are fewer than 2,000 pygmy possums left in the world. This cute creature is prey to several predators and suffers from a reduction in food supply. These potential losses may seem trivial to some but not to Dolphin. Moving into the heart of the poem, the poet chronicles a series of “ordinary” things common to daily life. These “lost moments” pile on and weigh us down . . . while “creation waits” for meaningful human responses to challenges that could have irreversible impact on life as we know it.

Stylistically, Dolphin writes in free verse. When she uses rhyme, she uses it well. “Lost In L.A.” illustrates:

         There is no worry of wind or snow
         or time or place in Godot’s Hyperloop below

         sidewalks where children run and play
         near streets where out-of-towners lose their way.

         No trains, parades or fire trucks
         no snapping turtles, so safe of ducks

         will slow the traffic as it flows
         to listen, for what, no one knows.

         Where cars sail by on electric skates
         and no one sees and nothing waits.

While a variety of environmental themes permeate Dolphin’s Chronicle, poetry as fun and entertaining is important to her. “Pace of Play” pokes fun at baseball. It’s slow pace is about as boring as waiting for the oven to heat. Don’t miss this one!

Dolphin’s heart for her husband showcases one of many tender moments included in Chronicle. Her innate pathos shines in “The Best Time To Plant A Tree”:

         we were classmates in seventh grade
         hanging out at band practice
         riding the same bus home
         we made out in high school
         then went our separate ways
         four years of collect passed
         before we met again
         and another five years would pass
         before you got serious and I got smart
         and you asked me to marry you
         the fifth anniversary is wood
         so let’s plant a tree to celebrate
         we make a hole two times larger
         than the nursery container is deep
         for our hearty Appalachian Redbud
         as we dig I try to remember
         the last time I told you I love you
         that you are my lifesource, my breath
         I should have told you twenty years ago
         the second best time is now.

I thought the author should have used the title, Chronicle of Lost Moments Recovered. The tenderness and maturity enshrined in the above poem is precisely why. In it Lara Dolphin understands that poetry is a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right.


Return to:

[New] [Archives] [Join] [Contact Us] [Poetry in Motion] [Store] [Staff] [Guidelines]