Carole Stone (author); AMERICAN RHAPSODY; CavanKerry Press (Nonfiction: Poetry) 16.00 ISBN: 9781933880280
Byline: Jacquelyn Lazo
"There's a hole in my heart, / a place where the dead hide / in their secret clubhouse," writes veteran poet Carole Stone in the poem "Root," from her latest collection, American Rhapsody. The hole, made by the death of Stone's parents when she was four, acts as the primary catalyst for this poignant and lyrical volume. Stone tenderly fabricates narratives about her parents by cobbling together stories, fading photographs, and inherited objects from their lives. In "Home Coming," she etches a portrait of her father according to things remembered: "My father is / a roller coaster, a grey fedora, / cut-glass decanters with silver tags / engraved: Scotch Gin Rye." She fleshes out a dapper, stoic image of him, his "face forever handsome and tan," while matter-of-factly acknowledging his illicit mob dealings in the sestina "A Daughter Returns to Her Habana Fantasy." Stone's succinct language makes her a very approachable poet.
American Rhapsody is a very fitting title for this episodic collection, wrought with a kaleidoscope of feelings about loss, yearning, and love. Stone combines the historical references of Warren Harding, Winston Churchill, and Josephine Baker with mentions of Enron, the "Nightly Business Report," and Oprah, all while infusing her work with a Gershwinian rhythm and musicality. Jazz and Prohibition references abound, contextualizing the work beautifully.