The Romance of Happy Workers by Anne Boyer
(Coffee House Press, 2008)
“I can’t put Siberia down
but can’t keep holding onto it.”
This second couplet from the title poem of Anne Boyer’s debut collection sums up what makes the collection wonderful. The Romance of Happy Workers is something that no lover of poetry can put down once they’ve had a taste of it. Boyer tells us, “There is Kansas in the wilderness,” and she takes us on a tour of it. In this wilderness, in this Kansas, we learn that “stanza catfights with strophe,” the end // thought the broccoli [was] left / to yellow the summer,” and “twittering Atlas triggered / his handgun.” And those are only a few things. Be sure to keep close to Boyer in this wilderness.
But realize, that it’s all slipping around you. This wilderness is bright and enticing and will make you want to lose your inhibitions, but it can’t be held in the palm of a hand. Along the way in The Romance of Happy Workers, you’ll run into another Anne Boyer. This Anne Boyer “thought on fingering the moss in Iowa and threatened love with a fistful of honeysuckle.” This Anne Boyer “is a skirt being hemmed.” This Anne Boyer is the Kansas in the wilderness. And you won’t want to put any of it down.
Nathan Logan is the editor of Spooky Boyfriend. He is a MFA candidate at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He got a Richard Simmons book for his birthday.