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Jenny Van WestIf you are passionate about driving, cars, love, and motion in general--even if you hated poetry in the eighth grade--you may well find yourself hooked by this thoroughly entertaining and soul-satisfying collection. "Some may think....driving an unfit subject for poetry. This anthology is not for them," writes Kurt Brown in the introduction and how right he is. Whatever it is about driving that tends to focus our attention or melt it away, this collection neatly captures those qualities.
The subjects of the poems range from grief ("I can grieve anything / driving these two-lane roads," writes Deborah Digges in "Mimosa") to speed ("driving you through Death Valley's venom and thorns in your / lipstick red Spitfire convertible through nothing / but dead sea and occasional towns" writes Beth Houston in "Exodus"), prayer ("Later they got down and prayed / like a lot of folks on I-80 / coming through that pass...." writes Barbara M. Smith in "Interstate 80") to police ("Your speedometer won't stay steady..../You would like to tell him / where he can go shine his leather," writes Peter Sears in "When the Big Blue Light Comes a Whirling up Behind.")
Perhaps the most pervasive subject in the book is the freedom availed to us by driving, whether in moving toward something pleasurable, or away from something painful, or just feeling free to think, as Alicia Ostriker writes in "While Driving North: "...when I drive alone / it is the only time / my mind is entirely free...."