EILEEN TABIOS Engages
TheWeather in Normal by Carrie Etter
(Station Hill Press, Barrytown, N.Y., 2018)
From experience, I know the difficulty of writing about a parent’s death. There’s, therefore, a logic to taking it slant. In The Weather in Normal, Carrie Etter addresses her father’s death partly by relying on the weather. In “My Father and the Blizzard,” for example, Etter alternatively describes the weather and her father’s passage—here’s an excerpt:
Paternal love, indeed, is meticulously defined through the father’s fixation with the weather in this stellar poem:
That Etter aligns her familial concerns with climate change is a welcome shift—the latter concern at least allows for the logical presence of anger. That is, it can be senseless to feel anger at a parent’s death as we all die (and yet anger can arise as a response, even if futile); with climate change, however, anger is an appropriate response as its causes are often those under the control of humanity. Thus, Etter begins the book’s third section on climate change with
before addressing the near-decimation of the Karner blue butterfly as well as the increased rampage of “more extreme weather events: / tornado / drought / flood / heat wave / blizzard.” The latter excerpts from the poem, “Scar,” which can only end with the helpless
Etter has written a poignant collection of poems, worth searching for and reading. We all should pay attention to tales coming out of the anthropocene. It takes understanding of damage to mitigate damage, and as Etter notes about the “I” of each of us: “I, the world’s curse.”
The structure of a weather-concerned Dad to climate change bespeaks an imagination that explains why I’ve unfailingly enjoyed any Carrie Etter poem I’ve read, and I am blessed also to have read her latest, The Weather in Normal.
Eileen Tabios is the editor of Galatea Resurrects (GR). She loves books and has released over 50 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in nine countries and cyberspace. Her 2018 poetry collections include HIRAETH: Tercets From the Last Archipelago, MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION: A Poetry Generator, TANKA: Vol. 1, and ONE TWO THREE: Selected Hay(na)ku Poems which is a bilingual English-Spanish edition with translator Rebeka Lembo. Forthcoming is WITNESS IN A CONVEX MIRROR which will inaugurate Tinfish Press' "Pacific response to John Ashbery." She also invented the poetry form “hay(na)ku” whose 15-year anniversary in 2018 is celebrated at the San Francisco and Saint Helena Public Libraries. More information about her works is available at http://eileenrtabios.com.