Wife by Tiphanie Yanique
The title of Wife is both ironic and deeply serious. There are wittily sharp poems on the gender inequalities and potential prisons of marriage, that are in dialogue with poems that celebrate the physical joys of intimacy and poems that explore the processes of self-creation that take place in the closeness to the male other.
Poems that are cutting about male self-deceptions and arrogations of power speak to poems that display a deep sensitivity to the aloneness of the embattled male psyche. This is not verse in the confessional mode, but poems that take on other voices, other histories and explore the relationship between experiences and the way we mythologise them.
These spare, elegant poems are not only intensely body focused and attentive to the minutiae of domestic space, but that they make connections to the worlds of family, church, village and nation – and even, in a poem the references the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, to the soul. Their context is a Virgin Islands’ past, a Black American present, and an enlarged human future.