Volume 8 (Fall 2014)

     Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, readers of Small Hours will love the history and science, transmuted through the personal, the ways Ilyse Kusnetz paints broadly, but etches fine detail, the detail being what is in those small, forgotten hours. In the opening poem, as example, “Match Girls,” the twining narrative of working girls who lick chemicals to make match heads and the Chinese emperor who built the Great Wall of China dying from ingesting the same chemical the girls later and across oceans die of, sets up an important set of themes of the book: power, class, borders, walls that separate, the ways we can not know the consequences of our actions on others, the ways we betray those we love, and how the most innocent are often the ones whose stories we do not fully get, hence, part of history's inadequacy:

     Of the factory girls,

     mouths opening

     soundlessly below earth,

     their bodies burning like

     forbidden books,

     we know almost nothing.

     – Laura McCullough

Short-shot Review:

Small Hours by Ilyse Kusnetz (Truman State University Press, 2014)