Nostalgia for a World Where We Can Live
Monica Berlin's Nostalgia for a World Where We Can Live resides at the turbulent confluence of relentless news cycles and the repeated rending of our interior lives. In Berlin's poetry sorrow makes its own landscape-solitary, intimate, forward-looking. Whether we attempt to traverse it or choose bypass, her poems show us where we live, how we carry on. These poems notice the day in the wind, the night tucked up to the train tracks, and a slipping-in of yesterday, memory-laden, alongside the promise of a more hopeful tomorrow. Here is the Midwest, vibrant and relic, in the ongoing years of collapse and recovery. Here the constant companionship of weather lays claim to its own field of vision. Here, too, devastation: what's left after. Berlin reminds us we are at the mercy of rivers, oceans, earth, wind, rain, blizzard, drought, and each other. Maybe what I mean / to say is that I've come to see all the names we might / recognize destruction by, Berlin's speaker discovers. We might / sometimes, stupidly, call it love. On her familiar prairie of lyricism and tumult, beauty and ruin, Berlin's poems insist, plead, and seek to reassure. In a collection both mournful and urgent, both a little book of days and a song, this poet meditates on loss, wonder, and always the consolations of language.