Sylvia Plath wrote that if the novel is an open hand, relaxed and expansive, then poetry is a closed fist that "excludes and stuns." Jazzy Danziger's first book of poems, Darkroom, published earlier this year, proves that the two need not be mutually exclusive. Danziger's work packs a punch, for sure; much of Darkroom concerns the poet's relationship with her mother, who committed suicide when Danziger was fourteen, and they are stunning in their carefully chosen, almost cinematic, details — and in their ferocity. But though the collection focuses tightly on Danziger's obsessions with memory and guilt and the question of whether in retelling a story one is distorting the truth of what happened, it does not exclude. By examining her own experiences so unflinchingly, Danziger sees beyond herself and shows her readers a new view of a familiar world.
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