'fully felt and deftly composed'

Written by Mirande Bissell for Goodreads on Friday, April 9th, 2021

Poem after poem in Monica Minott’s fabulous second collection Zion Roses is fully felt and deftly composed, brimming with people who have considered faith and survival “so to tek pain out of serious things, we who know better.” Minott’s images stay with me--the “brilliant red floorboards” of a mother’s home in Oracabessa; a woman who has “fished all night, and caught five parrot-fish / which [she] ought to toss back to clean the reefs.” Minott carefully arranges her lines, sometimes expanding and pausing, and at other times, contracting to the barest of narratives: “Hills / Cockpit country / Good Hope. / Plantation / history / in ruins.” The openings and closings of these poems speak to the scale of the losses the poet considers: “In every town centre they planted a clock” opens “Under a Darker Sun,” while “The Sea Will Claim Us All” ends with “surf hesitant to bring the news, ‘Man lost at sea.’” I admire Minott’s many achievements in Zion Roses, and I loved reading her book.