Finishing Line Press, 2017
Surely every poem desires to be read and read again. Zana Previti’s poems deserve it. The poems of Zana Previti’s first collection, Providence, possess the rare capacity to make the personal appear universal and the universal appear personal. She blends present and historical time, immediate and distant place, and she applies layer after layer of rich details in lines that vary from a terse, trimeter-like pace to Whitmanic lines that threaten to sweep beyond the margins.
Ron McFarland, author of Subtle Thieves (Pecan Grove Press, 2012) and Stranger in Town: New and Selected Poems (Confluence Press, 2000), among others. He teaches at the University of Idaho.
In language at once spare and unsparing, Zana Previti’s staggeringly wide-ranging and pitch-perfect Providence takes us from the “immense / old age of the Atlantic” through war-time starvation experiments, family, Kung Fu movies, Greek myth, bathtub mystery novel reading, a Galveston hurricane, environmental degradation, and King Lear—reckoning in deeply humane ways with individual and historically-aware questions of the human capacity for suffering and love. “These stones are the generations / upon which we build images of the end of us,” she writes, using her formal and lyrical skills to again and again find these “images of the end” and their complex corollaries in our continuance and living. “Kill us if you will / but kill us in the light,” Ajax is quoted as crying, and this poem—which is like nothing you’ve ever quite seen before—is a new, acute light.
Alexandra Teague, author of the poetry collections The Wise and Foolish Builders (Persea Books, 2015) and Mortal Geography (Persea Books, 2010), which won the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry and the 2010 California Book Award. In 2011 she received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.