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“A rare feat for any book of poems, let alone a debut, in that the lines, wrought with such deft precision and care, mark the sum total of a life richly lived and felt at the seat of poetry...These poems care, first and foremost, for what they write of and through, which is a much needed—yet increasingly rare—achievement.” -- Ocean Vuong
Engaging the matriarchal structure of the beehive, Amanda Moore explores the various roles a woman plays in the family, the home, and the world at large. Beyond the productivity and excess, the sweetness and sting, Requeening brings together poems of motherhood and daughterhood, an evolving relationship of care and tending, responsibility and joy, dependence and deep love.
The poems that anchor this collection don’t shy away from the inevitability of a hive’s collapse and consider the succession of “requeening” a hive as “a new heart ready to be fed and broken and fed again.” The collapse is both physical—there are poems of illness and recovery—and emotional, as the mother-daughter relationship shifts, the daughter becoming separate, whole, and poised to displace. The liminal spaces these poems traverse in human relationships is echoed in a range of poetic and hybrid form, offering freedom and stricture as they contemplate the way we hold one another in love and grief.
Requeening is a vivid and surprising collection of poems from a winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition.
Moore's exquisite debut uses beekeeping and its attendant metaphors as a motif to explore childhood homes, marriage, and the birth of and raising of a child. Composed primarily of one to two-page free verse poems, the book also includes a dynamic set of haibuns (a Japanese form that joins a haiku and a prose poem) about her daughter's girlhood, as "Morning Haibun with Tween": "The girl can sleep now, hours and hours at a time years since the last 2 am tiptoe down the hall to fold herself sweetly between us like a warm sheet." Moore's refusal to turn away from or sentimentalize hard moments is often leavened with humor, as the very titles of the poems suggest: "Labor as an Exotic Vacation" and "Postcard to My Left Axillary Lymph Nodes." The final sentence of "Bad at Bees," the four-page prose piece that closes the collection, provides an immediate retrospective focus: "I don't really know what I'm doing most days. I just like to touch fear." An homage to the power of matriarchy, Moore's powerful collection will leave readers reflecting on the roles visible and invisible played by women.