In Nandi Comer's American Family Syndrome: A Singing Skin Disorder, the poet says the sound coming from a person's skin is an "auditory / pheromone or territorial / marking made by the body / wherein the host is unaware." But if the patient is not clear what song emits from these syndromes that populate American Family, the poet most certainly can hear it. The poems here observe intently. They listen as carefully for the snap of a neckbone to know a chicken is ready to be cleaned as they watch for signs of panic by people facing police violence and mob rage. Throughout this collection, it is the poet's sensitivity that yields the tenderness of the work. For here is an ear that joyfully discerns Sofia's "mouth of racket and cry" from The Color Purple, yet seems to listen throughout the house for a mother's voice or her cane tipping or the moments when she might fall into dream, all the while. A smart, beautiful and urgent collection.
By Nandi Comer