Paige Lewis interpretation of love with playfulness and joy

William Brown

Space Struck is Paige Lewis’ debut poetry collection. Photo credit: Amazon

Paige Lewis’ debut poetry collection, Space Struck, comes out this October. 

I had the pleasure of getting to meet the author and purchase an early copy of Space Struck at an event at the Poetry Foundation.

Space Struck is a great collection as a whole, but there are a number of poems that stand out as masterpieces. 

In this collection, Lewis demonstrates themself to be a master of imagery, with vivid images such as this one from “Saccadic Masking:”

“… There

is blood in the batter—dark

strands stretch like vocal

cords…”

Lewis’ images are well developed throughout, and support Lewis’ tone well. 

That tone is wonderful and skeptical at the same time. 

Partaking in and admiring what a Romanticist may call “the sublime” while acknowledging that the sublime often appears implausible or absurd. 

For example, in “St. Francis Disrobes,” the speaker describes how St. Francis appears in their apartment, and begins to slowly undress. 

The speaker describes how they dream about how beneath his robe, St. Francis wears a silk dress. 

Yet, when St. Francis, in the narrator’s dream, describes the dress as “A present from my father,” the speaker then questions, “Which father?” 

Any attempt to further explain the specific tone that Lewis utilizes would be ill-advised; even when divided into its basic parts, it is a bit like explaining a joke. 

You may gain some degree of insight into how it works, but it lacks the power that would complete the joke, poem or work.

Lewis also has some delightful love poems in their collection. 

“When I Tell My Beloved I Miss the Sun,” possibly my favorite poem in the book, revels in not only the joy but also the playfulness of being in love. 

I think this simple joy is often overlooked in love poetry in an effort to be profound and dramatic. 

Lewis takes this playfulness and makes it into something genuine and thus by extension makes it profound. 

All of this is accomplished in the poem without feeling forced, and demonstrates Lewis’ poetic skill.

The quality of Space Struck as a collection, rather than a book of assorted poems, is the breathtaking cohesive flow between poems. 

Space Struck does not contain an overarching narrative, a group of motifs, or anything else that truly binds the book together so tightly that Space Struck becomes a diamond under pressure. 

Space Struck does contain themes that are explored across multiple poems, such as those of love and of wonderment. 

The collection may not be a masterpiece of what a book of poetry can accomplish, the poems of Space Struck do derive strength from their proximity to each other through the book’s shared themes creating success.

Space Struck has a lot to offer lovers of poetry. 

While it may not quite be as cohesive as other collections as a whole, it is consistently good and reaches heights that rival those of most living poets. 

I highly recommend Space Struck for its unique voice, and I cannot wait to see what Lewis writes in the future.

 “[Lewis’] tone is wonderful and skeptical all at the same time.” 

Space Struck: 4.5/5 stars