Review: The Way the Body Had to Travel by Emily Lake Hansen (Published at Up the Staircase Quarterly)

Body A stunning first work by poet Emily Lake Hansen, The Way the Body Had to Travel takes us through a childhood full of mystical realism where women trade clumsy legs for weightless tails, a mother’s breasts define her, and the borders that define a child’s identity are the waves of a competing Atlantic and Pacific.

Beginning the collection, “Phyllis and Mildred at the Sea Park” immediately sets the reader into the middle of a mother-daughter relationship where “evidence” of a body “was the same as the real thing.” What follows are vivid poems in which Hansen speculates and romances on the life of a mermaid performer, a childhood memory which transcends to her maternal bond.

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