Review: Karen Weyant’s WEARING HEELS IN THE RUST BELT

I’ll start by admitting that I have a strong bias toward Rust Belt literature. It’s true. But this chapbook tackles the region in a fairly unique way. Here, Weyant calmly presents the mundane landscape of the Rust Belt as apololyptic. Everything seems to be dying — slowly, calmly. It’s certainly not blatant in these poems, but the tone and a good handful of the images certainly lead the reader in this direction. While it’d be easier to address these issues in a more frantic or even sentimental way, the calm attitude sort of confuses this process, resulting in a complex and more enjoyable read.

Weyant keeps alive the aesthetics which make up so much of the region: rust, dust, corn, deer, metal. But she presents these harsh objects within delicate, soft scenes, creating a pleasant and distantly tense balance. These scenes are often made soft with notions of childhood; one poem describes old memories of encountering a dead (hunted) deer. Many of the poems also address existing and growing in the region as a female, which results in its own set of (fairly obvious) tensions (soft vs. harsh again).

This is not a book which would be interesting or worthwhile exclusively to those living in the area. Rather, it functions more as a soft/rough window into this landscape, or perhaps as a new set of lenses for those already living here.

Check out the book at Main Street Rag’s site.

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