Impunity

by Shelley Stenhouse

84 Pages, 5˝ x 8˝

Library of Congress Control Number:  2010907951

ISBN:  978-1-935520-22-1

Publication Date:  01/07/2011

Press Release

   


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In the title poem, the dying mother asks: "Will my daughter be able to come and go with impunity?" Stenhouse’s ironically titled collection plays against the backdrop of this mythic riddle. Privilege is tied to punishment: two sides of the same seemingly inescapable coin. In these poems, even nature is seen through a lens of power, money, sex and addiction. These themes and others unfold in images both startling and effortless. We see a poet tackling the big questions, unsatisfied with easy answers, longing for clear borders, for definition, for love and redemption—for impunity. Stenhouse writes with clarity, humor, bravery—her fresh wisdom underscores the visceral details that allow us to see the world as if we have just landed on it.

Recommendations

Shelley Stenhouse's poems are about sex and using drugs and being a woman, and having money and not having money and how vague life is. None of this stuff is made the slightest bit melodramatic or exaggerated. Instead, her writing has a particularity of detail, an emotional precision and honesty which amounts to that all-too-rare quality called Frankness. When I read these poems, I think, again and again, "So I'm not the only one," which is consoling, refreshing, amusing, sad, and rehabilitating. I love this work, and Impunity will turn you on, bring you down, and grow you up.

—Tony Hoagland