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Wild One
By: Lucille Lang Day
82Poems / 99 Pages /$12.95
Scarlett Tanager Books
PO Box 20906
Oakland, CA 94620

Review By: Karen Schwartz


       When opening the pages of Wild One, the third compilation of poetry by Lucille Lang Day, I prepared myself to be taken on an uncivilized journey of adventures where personal emotions rule reason and impulsivity defies comprehension, all in the name of unbridled self-gratification as the title would suggest.
      At first glance, the poet fails to quash my theory as identified in her first poem entitled, 1954, where she reveals herself as a playful, mischief-maker,
I pulled myself up/into the scaly branches, as Uncle Dick,/hands on hips, approached the creek./“That child’s a wild one,” he said,/ shaking his head. I bit my lip/ to hold back laughter,…” but it is soon disclosed through solemn accounts of family dysfunction, the ill affects of addiction and an eating disorder, that the poet is not as unruly as one may first perceive.
       As Lucille invites her readers to delve deeper into her laborious world through heartfelt, picturesque poetic accounts, we come to understand that it is life itself that has become her wilderness and the troubling adversities she is forced to endure.
       From her poem, Snapshot, we discover that she is the product of her environment,
I suppose he was ruthless in the card room,/ but he didn’t drink hard or molest me/…I ran with the rough kids,/ drank beer in the hills…/ driven by something—angel or demon—I had to create.
       But the poet is anything but victim or hero, we learn throughout her trials and tribulations, her achievements and accomplishments that she’s a champion; an extraordinary woman who draws on inner strength from her struggles, realizations, rewards and mistakes made, riding the waves to success as innocence blossoms into maturity. We bear witness to her intoxicating evolution page after page, as motherhood affirms her genuine capacity for self love and for loving another as she eloquently prepares her daughter in Patterns,
Did I ever tell you/ that a woman is born twice,/ that the first/ person she gives birth to/
is herself?

while further analysis reveals Lucille is gifted with scientific genius. We understand through her insightful poet’s eye, the dynamics of how the human body subsists, as she so aptly describes in Biology Student,
the way,/ the four-chambered heart pumps blood/ for a lifetime. The motion isn’t a simple/ squeeze, release, but a contortion. It’s like/ wringing out a towel with every beat.
      Poetically, Ms. Day manages to take the very core of our existence that which keeps us alive, allows us to love, feel a gamut of emotion, achieve a sense of belonging as we reach for our dreams, all the while explaining it to us in a language we can visualize as clearly as if we were scientists ourselves.
       Lucille successfully masters the artistry of the spoken word, reminding her audience that there is so much more naturalistic beauty to the circumstances placed in front of us and that all it takes is an open imagination, a virtual microscopic analysis to uncover that which is blind to the naked eye and a willingness to open our hearts to the human condition in order to teach us something new. Poems to Give to a Lover emphasizes this for us,
The air, alive/ with pollen grains looking for mates,/ insects that glitter like kings,/ and germs that bounce/ with every breath we take,/ moves incessantly/ like the tangle of kelp in its water bed/ at the end of the pier."
       As I read Lucille Lang Day’s works, poem by poem, I marvel at her intelligence, her intuitiveness and her ingenuity, but most of all at her willingness to unveil aspects of her experiences that others might rather hide. She stands before us, vulnerable and exposed, a real woman willing to admit an imperfect life mixed with an abundance of joy and achievements that leaves her audience begging for more. Wild One is a must read for anyone who dares to believe in possibilities and in the beauty that surrounds us.




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