Comment on this article

What The Postcard Didn’t Say
by Shoshauna Shy
2007, 104pp, Paperback
Zelda Wilde Publishing
315 Water Street, Cambridge, WI 53523

  Reviewed by Michael Kriesel

  Shy’s first full-length collection features poems about relationships. Spouses, ex-lovers, parents and
children. The poems flow well, authentic tones. An achievement, considering many of the pieces are
persona poems.

  “Writing from somebody else’s POV other than my own, forces me to stretch,” Shoshauna said in a
recent online interview. “However, in every poem, there’s some element of ‘truth’ that can be traced to
my own life. I read in the papers that a friend’s son bought six cans of spray paint at Menards before he
got busted for graffiti, and that instigated ‘The Sound Of Spite’s Name.’”

  “Pretend to ring it up, doll—!/ Two guys at my check-out unload / a dozen cans of spray paint. /
One of them is Smitty, / the joker who took my virginity / eleventh grade. / His eyes still sneer. / Do
says his buddy, or I kill you. / Suddenly the bulge in his coat pocket / is bigger than both of them. /
Even my hands are queasy as they punch / 2 – 40 – 9 x 12 into the cash register. // Smitty flings a
toothpick at me / and they grab the paint and go. / Randall has the cops on the line. / I’m cold and
sweaty at the same time / remembering the pregnancy test— / the money filched from my cousin’s
/ drawer— the drive across two state lines. // Armed robbery’s a felony, / the officer informs me. /
He wants me to tell him / which one had the gun. / Calm as blue ice, / I lie.”
(Originally in Margie)

  Some excellent poems here. And some that could’ve been cut without harming the manuscript, in cases
where other poems covered the same ground better. But the book does what it sets out to do, and does it
well. “Emergency Surgery 3rd Grade” captures Shy’s overall tone. “The scar is now / a strip of rope /
not a long railroad / stitched in black / or a welt of red rising / like a mountain ridge / splicing my small
daughter / in half. / When she asks Am I safe / Does this guarantee / nothing else bad / will ever happen
to me?
/ how I want to say, ‘Yes, / that’s right, yes, / of course, yes.’” 

Michael Kriesel, 44, is a widely published poet and reviewer living in the countryside near Wausau.
His reviews are in each issue of Small Press Review and in Library Journal. His poems have appeared
in over 200 journals including Nimrod, Rosebud, Bitter Oleander and The Progressive.  He is the
winner of the Council for Wisconsin Writers 2004 Lorine Niedecker Poetry Prize, Michael is a member
of the State Poet Laureate Commission, and a lifelong Wisconsin resident except for ten years in the
Navy as a TV journalist and newspaper editor. Find out more about Michael Kriesel by going to:





Return to:

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