Due to issues caused by COVID-19 and staffing at our distributor, book orders from our website are taking 10 to 15 days to be delivered. If you need your order sooner, please visit our retail partner links on each product page.

Skip to content

PW Reviews Gray Matter by Sara Michas-Martin

9th June 2014


Sara Michas-Martin, Foreword by Susan Wheeler. Fordham Univ., $19.00 trade paper (80 pages) ISBN 978-0-8232-5779-9

Michas-Martin is investigative and clear spoken in her debut collection, with a unified focus on the interior self and its interactions with both the utilitarian body and the external world. Sleep and memory are often invoked or used as a setting in which the body performs subconscious interpretations of experiences in hands-off displays, teasing the self in light of memory’s fleeting ethereality (“Time I knew would not come back/ or that feeling”) or to sifting through dreams’ illogic (“losing teeth is a woman’s dream common and associated with vanity”). An undercurrent of frustration and helplessness gives an emotional life to Michas-Martin’s biological investigations. Despite even a comprehensive understanding of brain function, it—along with the entirety of the body—is persistently beyond control, such as in “The Empty Museum”: “I shake the brain/ wanting a file to slip.” Lesser moments find Michas-Martin more shallowly seeming to present the highlights of a neuroscience or psyche textbook, acting out processes and symptoms in a narrative, but not necessarily getting at something beyond them through invention or aggressive questioning. But even this builds toward a satisfying whole that’s confident in its pursuits and approaches them from an impressive number of angles. (March 2014)

Go to PW Review…

Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: