Elizabeth Arnold's first book of poems documents her struggle with cancer. A book-length sequence of poems, The Reef rockets the reader through a Heraclitean chute of accelerated life experience by way of anecdote, satire, facts from medical science, and lyrical sweep. This multilayered work explores the depths of illness, investigating the way one's attitude toward it changes over time and how one gathers and processes information in order to make sense of it.
Harrowing without sensationalism, these poems face illness and mortality gravely, thoughtfully... their authority conveys a sense of truth.
Elizabeth Arnold's first book, The Reef, feels like other poets' third books -- mature, at ease with her voice's own quirkiness, devoted to clarity and precision of feeling...The sheer strangeness and originality of Arnold's perceptions accumulate to visionary grandeur.