Sweet Velocity by Rachel Moritz

Published by Lost Roads Publishers

Sweet Velocity is Rachel Moritz’s 6th book of poetry, and winner of the 2015 Besmilr Brigham Women Writers Award. Sweet Velocity is satisfyingly constructed, each poem pushing into the next one—not forcefully but naturally, the way life progresses. So much of the collection seems intent on a minimalism that might seem hesitant or reluctant, but is quickly realized as carefulness. Much of the delicate brevity that dominates the pages of the collection is not a quiet isolation, but rather a confident, yet realistic, acknowledgement of the self. The poems not only convey a life, of people who fill in more and more each poem, but make the collection feel alive itself. The language shifts throughout, unsettling us with technical medical terms, the body reduced to sanitized words. Yet, the contrast only allows for the poems to build up the complexity of identity, of the struggle to rectify the self to one’s own self and to others. There is a great undercurrent of how we create, be it life or otherwise, and how through our creation and living we slowly drift from that which we have created. There is a great burden not in the bringing in, but in the letting go, in the slow separation of life from life. The collection takes interesting avenues with form, using lists, and lists within lists, and even utilizing a poem partly made of footnotes. The collection does not shy away from the strange or mysterious in poems like “Dear, Kronos.” Rare is it to find a collection so full of space that is comforting, that pulls you in and makes every word seem cozy, passionate, and welcoming. Rare is it to find a collection that has such a gravity to its trajectory, and make you want for the place where it will come to rest—Thomas Warmbrodt