The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor
By Bianca Lynne Spriggs
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From different species of automatons to spiders, ants, and bees, from moons to yellow jacket nests, Bianca Spriggs’ Eye is quick and slow enough to show us that the galaxy is vast and atomic, tiny. In this science-minded and sensual collection, red lips stand in constellation with the “dionaea muscipula on the fly” and tongues are abacuses. Bodies are “astonishing machine[s]” made up of “stardust, / coils of oxygen and carbon / and hydrogen compressed / by time…” The yellow jacket nest is also the nest of the once-self becoming. And a mountain is a parent teaching us about what it means to endure. At a time when our senses and imaginations are inundated with terrifying news and shorthand, poems like these are critical for the ways they remind us that imagination, itself, might be a kind of balm or mercy. That with our imaginations we might remember our kinship to every, every thing in the universe. In The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor Spriggs models awe while deftly conjuring emotion in nuanced moments of syntactical invention. Yes, there is heartache here. Yes, there is loss. But these all give way to necessary metamorphosis and transformation, and this is exactly where, again and again, Spriggs cultivates hope. We are reminded: “Breath, like everything, / waits in line to return / through someone else.”
In these poems Bianca Spriggs becomes the heart’s astronaut, exploring, imagining, bringing the distant closer, giving substance to the invisible. In poem after poem she bears witness that the universe is a vast metaphor in which the outer world corresponds with the inner. The strongest of these poems chronicle this quest, illuminating, enlarging our supposed individual smallness. Her fresh language and originality make The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor well worth the journey.
Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow, Bianca Lynne Spriggs, is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Lexington, Kentucky. Spriggs is the recipient of a 2013 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry, multiple Artist Enrichment and Arts Meets Activism grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and a Pushcart Prize Nominee. She is the author of Kaffir Lily (Wind Publications, 2010), How Swallowtails Become Dragons (Accents Publishing, 2011), and Call Her By Her Name (Northwestern University Press, 2016), as well as the co-editor for Circe’s Lament: An Anthology of Wild Women(Accents Publishing, 2016) and Undead: Ghouls, Ghosts, and More (Apex Publications, 2017).