Stephanie Burt

  • Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones: Selected and New Poems by Lucia Perillo
    Copper Canyon, 239 pp, $23.00, February 2016, ISBN 978 1 55659 473 1

Lucia Perillo, who died on 16 October, was a poet who liked jokes. That’s not unusual in itself, but she also wrote on topics that may disgust you, or ones that you may think funny poetry ordinarily has no right to address: disease, decay, physical humiliation and several kinds of disability, among them her own. In 1988 she learned that she had multiple sclerosis; she long used a wheelchair and required help with daily tasks, and this fact can look like a thread that runs through her seven collections of poetry, even though MS itself is addressed only glancingly or indirectly, as one among many ways that bodies break down. (She did write revealingly about her MS in a fine, spare collection of prose essays, I’ve Heard the Vultures Singing, from 2007.)

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in