Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gina Myers' False Spring

Released by Spooky Girlfriend Press in 2012, Gina Myers’ False Spring remains one of my favorite books. Like her previous book A Model Year, published by Coconut Books in 2009, these small diaries/letters set in Michigan chronicle a year of homesickness and a long-distance relationship on the rocks. The objects and images that appear in this collection--coffee cups, trains, the radio, retail stores—-represent the monotony of day-to-day life. They are the evidence of an internal life separate from the ones we live every day.

False Spring hinges on the change of the seasons, the weather, and the passage of time--a kind of beautiful hopelessness in the way the violence of a city can keep us rapt (and wrapped):

Every year I record in a journal:
April snow. So April snow this year too.
Breaking up with my hometown is hard
to do. Even this blood-stained city
has a firm hold on me, A year in my life
where the only good thing was you.
Everything else fallen away.
False spring will not heal me. I continue
to allow myself to be fooled. I am April’s fool.

Gina Myers’ chapbook is uncomplicated, accessible, and heartfelt. I am reminded of the directness of Frank O’Hara and his wonderings along the streets of New York, or William Carlos Williams’ devotion to objects as tellers of more than just function. And like O’Hara and Williams, Gina Myers’ narrator(s) are anything but sappy or without purpose. It is an everyman’s book—easy to relate to and very intimate—like the reader is having a conversation, or exchanging letters with the writer. It is obvious that Myers’ trusts her reader to know exactly what she means.

The cover depicts a faceless girl on the street--a faceless girl who could be any of us--a faceless girl walking with an elephant in the street, under a dark, rainy sky. What might this elephant represent? Perhaps a belief in the impossible? A companion in the face of loneliness, however unlikely? Who knows? What we do know is that False Spring is a compulsively readable collection that can be enjoyed again and again, each time like the first time. Please also read Myers' Hold It Down and A Model Year, both published by Coconut Books.

**(A Version of this review also appeared in Gently Read Literature)

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