Crisp Simplicity in Sarah Sarai’s Geographies of Soul and Taffeta
a microreview by Mary Meriam
I like that Sarah Sarai’s Geographies of Soul and Taffeta takes me by the hand and doesn’t let go. Her poems are acrobatic, so her remembering the reader is generous, since making it easier for the reader makes the poet’s work harder. Under Sarai’s ludic wordplay and pop-culture references, there is serious searching and cosmic questioning, her “geographies of soul.” One favorite moment, from the poem “Miracle Fiber”:
It’s the weirdest thing,
to be in love with a woman.
Nothing else matters.
Sarai’s absolute lesbian openness here is refreshing and rare. She’s fierce and inventive, and her irony has backbone, but what I love best are Sarai’s “taffeta” geographies, the silky fabric of her lesbian life, marginalized still, especially in poetry, but crucial to me. But then, I have something in common with Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, “Peter would think her sentimental. So she was. For she had come to feel that it was the only thing worth saying—what one felt. Cleverness was silly. One must say simply what one felt.” For a poet as bright and strong as Sarah Sarai, with an eye that sees everything and a fearless voice, saying simply what one feels is naturally fascinating.