Local store Arundel Books publishes some fine first-time poets—writers who would otherwise have to wait years to publish their first book—under their house imprint, and Nicole Sarrocco is one of the best authors Arundel has discovered. Her Karate Bride is a mix of lurid imagery ("History" begins: "In my hallway hangs a photograph/of my father. One frame, two pictures;/in one he eyes a disaster of an Easter bunny,/in the next, he's held by a leering Santa") and passionate longing ("One Long Lecture" ends: "I want to crawl down, settle myself/deep, deep into a dark place./And I want you there with me").
Sarrocco provides the perfect gateway for readers who are interested in experimenting with poetry. Her poems are, more often than not, narratives. She employs imagery with a novelist's steady hand, and the stories are told with muscular verbs and concrete language. This isn't a collection of vague, formless musings about emotion: Someone gets embarrassed after talking dirty on a speaker phone, a narrator thinks of an old lover while folding bed linens, a married couple squabbles over a vase. It's like a book of short stories you can read, from cover to cover, in under an hour. But the wonder of Sarrocco's poetry is that you'll want to return to it again and again, like a great pop song you can't get out of your head.
Nicole Sarrocco reads with novelist Lindsay Hill Thurs May 7, Arundel Books, 7 pm, free.