Erika Meitner’s fourth book takes cues from the Land Artists of the 1960s who created work based on landscapes of urban peripheries and structures in various states of disintegration. The collection also includes a section of documentary poems about Detroit that were commissioned for Virginia Quarterly Review.
Because it is an uninhabited place, because it
makes me hollow, I pried open the pages of
Detroit: the houses blanked out, factories
absorbed back into ghetto palms and scrub-
oak, piles of tires, heaps of cement block.
Vines knock and enter through shattered
drop-ceilings, glassless windows. Ragwort
cracks the street’s asphalt to unsolvable
Meitner also probes the hulking ruins of office buildings, tract housing, superstores, construction sites, and freeways, and doesn’t shy from the interactions that occur in Walmart and supermarket parking lots.
It is nearly Halloween, which means
wrong sizes on Wal-Mart racks, variety bags of
pumpkins extinguishing themselves on the stoop
children from the trailer park trawling our identical lawns soon
so we can give away nickels, light, sandpaper, raisins, cement.