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Local Heroes

Amanda Lamarche's debut collection of poetry is a work of imaginative grace and power. These poems topple the normal hierarchy of everyday concerns, promoting fears unlikely in the "normal" state of being -- the fear of buttons, of dying to the wrong song, of houses built on corners -- to the same stage and emotional impact as the more common (perhaps more cliched) fears of car crashes and collapsing bridges. The clever combination of explorations emotional and playful carries on. Technical advice for cutting down trees is juxtaposed with the development of ominous personal overtones. The title sequence takes issue with the easy laying down of language by recasting well-worn sayings: giving them back-stories, situating them in real time and real places, and reinvigorating them by providing each its own individual universe from which to draw meaning. Amanda Lamarche's refreshing poems refuse at all the right moments to take themselves too seriously. They have the amazing ability to make readers shift from out-loud laughter to profound insight in a gasp of breath.
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