Weapons Grade: Poems
In her poetry Terese Svoboda walks out to the edge where language is made and destroyed. Her subject is human suffering. Her work is often the surreal poetry of a nightmare yet is written with such wit, verve, and passion that she can address the direst subjects.
Weapons Grade is a collection of poems about the power of occupation – political and personal. They often play with sestina, sonnet, and couplets, as if only form can contain the fury between the occupier and the occupied. There’s a pervading sense of dread, of expiation, of portents – even in potato salad. There’s also elegy and lullaby and seduction but, in the words of the sixties tune “Wooly Bully,” the reader must “Watch it now, watch it.” The poems veer from the political to the personal, then finish on the elegiac, releasing complex and unexpected meaning with emotional precision. Looking directly into the contemporary apocalyptic, Weapons Grade, Svoboda’s fifth collection of poetry, draws readers back to the radiant present.
Svoboda is the author of ten books of prose and poetry, most recently Black Glasses Like Clark Kent that won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize.