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The Memory of Gills by Catherine Carter

The Memory of Gills


The Memory of Gills by Catherine Carter is a book of poems that reflect humans connection to “nonhuman animals”. A quote on the back of the book captures the style of the collection perfectly:

“Carter’s poems are utterly unique–wry and quiet and carrying a velvet sledgehammer. Her pitch, tone, her sly humor is perfectly tuned. This is not just a brilliant first book, it is a brilliant book, period.” -Thomas Lux

My favorite poem is called  “Raised by Wolves” and it’s about how the speaker compares herself to a wolf who married a human. Here are a conglomeration of my favorite lines:

“…like Mowgli, I married human.”
“…I prune the woods from my yard, rake up the leaves that rustle and hiss like paws under moon-grey trees.”
“I lope for town, pause at a roadkill…in the suburb I catch a cab. In the house I circle twice and snuggle against my spouse.”
“If I dream of veins, it’s his neck my blunt fangs catch, but I learned in the woods how to mate for life, though the mate is different.”
“and everyone marries into another species.”

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves animals or feels that they have a spirit animal. The poems are both straight-forward and metaphorical and all of them have word choice that exemplifies Carters wide ranging vocabulary. I loved reading all the poems in her collection. I also loved the cover art, I think it sums up the goal of the poems very well. And it’s pretty. 🙂

Have a great summer, everyone!!

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