Some might argue the world needs more brick-and-mortar book shops, green lights, and firemen. I stand with them and add to their list truth-telling and poetry. In the newly published Stunt Double, Elizabeth Garcia offers all of the above in a collection to be stashed and savored. And if you don’t currently read poetry, no worries. I suggest you start immediately by ordering this book and diving in, stat. (You can thank me later.)
Garcia’s poetry is both accessible and adventurous, revealing a new world turned on its side and the darker terrain of marriage, heart, mind. With an observant eye and a keen sense of language, she tackles everything from PBS to truck drivers, Wonder Woman to red Jello Rorschachs.
One of my favorite poems, “Atlanta to Salt Lake,” (p. 1) is more than a road-trip travelogue, it is the tale of a friend’s divorce with a lens turned to “arthritic trees…dragged up by their bones,” and “horizons of ice” foretelling the beginning of an end. “More solitary. Less looking ahead.” The journey from a splintered relationship to a new self has never felt more barren or full of ache.
In “Wonder Woman’s First Stunt Double,” (p. 8) things are not as they seem. Humor and humiliation join hands in this poem as the stunt double is not a woman at all but sports “a hairy chest / like lichen, the great tundra of his torso / packed into spandex: Let’s shrink-wrap Siberia / and put it in a tube of toothpaste.” Uncanny truths packed into the grim reality of three stanzas, we smile, grateful he is not us.
The last poem, “God as Intern,” (p. 29) shines, as it should, it was nominated for The Pushcart Prize. Garcia shows God’s indelible handiwork as a learning process we, too, understand. As we grasp towards heaven, we see that God has thrust through a learning curve not unlike our own, creating our world complete with drafts, recalculations, and “paper rubbed transparent / from erasures.” The foibles and humanity in us all, including our own creator, invite a renewed sense of possibility and wonder.
Whether you are new to poetry or like myself have bookshelves brimming with dogeared favorites, you will want to add this book to your collection. To partake of Elizabeth Garcia’s poetry in Stunt Double is to savor truth-telling in every bite.
Elizabeth Garcia will be at Pioneer Book for a poetry reading from Stunt Double on Tuesday, July 12, at 6:30pm. We look forward to seeing you there!
450 West Center
Provo, Utah 84601