I want to quote dozens of Allen’s lines for the joy of their precise surprise. Here is my current ear-worm from this wonderfully musical debut: “I jumped I lit the noose / on fire, a great lemon / in place of my heart, a start” (Monstrous Horses). What a start to a poem, and what a start to a poetic career.
Hurt and harm surface throughout Allen’s writing, intent on uncovering the grotesque beneath the everyday, even as it remains oddly distant and indistinct: “a stark bright woman” who “holds something small, ungrippable”. Disturbing, unnerving and aware, these poems linger through effective image-making, where a girl watches “a haunted old body, the one she’ll inhabit / that drags up and down the coast”.