WEEPING IN THE TROPICAL MOONLIT NIGHT BECAUSE NOBODY’S TOLD HER, a poetry book by Fox Henry Frazier, reviewed by Hillary Leftwich

each new world I’d built within you 
wrecked, each flower

wilting & infected
You’re being protected

Fox Henry Frazier’s poetry collection, Weeping in the Tropical Moonlit Night Because Nobody’s Told Her, fulfills its title’s expectations with a dreamy, surreal quality I’ve been craving in the world of poetry to come into existence. With subtle waves of images shadowed by a world full of moonlight and mermaids, don’t let the stunning cover fool you; Frazier is a siren of words and is here to beckon you with beauty and a haunting sorrow that will leave you begging for more.

Frazier, an established poet, and essayist, already has several award-winning books under her bejeweled belt and is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the highly regarded Agape Editions literary press. In other words, Frazier knows how to please us. Within the pages of this collection, Frazier calls upon the goddesses of the oceans in a reckoning of vulnerability, hurt, and loss. In her introduction, she asks herself and us, “How is it that I still consider softness a sacred aspect of existence?” In reading and unfurling the emotions throughout her poems, we begin to maybe not answer this question but understand its importance more.

As a mermaid who transformed into a Betta fish in “Still, I watched you with fascination blurring,” to witness an impervious romantic partner, Frazier constricts our environment as a witness to an impervious romantic partner to purposely create a tense atmosphere. We take a deep breath and dive round and round in a cyclone of passion and curiosity, using fantastic imagery to combine both grace and brutality, a theme central to her collection that never falters, despite how close the edge is:

Your thick
palms, long fingers—slender, pale

Hiding swanlike violence.

In truth, when you said,
I’m like bombed-out Belfast circa ’84

This is one of many examples within this collection of Frazier’s approach to exposing us to the possibilities of savagery within seductiveness without lacking in the special kind of hurt that regret does to our hearts.

With possibilities come loss; we might be fooled into believing Frazier has one hand to play within this collection. But her language moves beyond borders within the framework of the shadows found in the Tarot card, The Moon, and the secrets of the sea beneath her. How can someone possibly be so aware when love blinds us? Frazier demonstrates her quickness to pull the blindfold off our eyes throughout these pages, creating an intimacy between reader, lover, and speaker that feels almost voyeuristic. In “saying this is me, the giddy warmth,” this intention keeps us close to the words, and rather than feeling like a tool or a ploy, the end result produces an intimacy rather than an expansion in both space and focus.:

I’m sitting in a thunderstorm
talking to you     I was going to
ask you to bewitch me
but hell, you already have

 

 

I’m not a complete fool, you know.

Beware of Frazier’s siren songs; whether the images invoke a world filled with pleasure and possibilities or disappointment and despair, Weeping in the Tropical Moonlit Night Because Nobody’s Told Her checkmates the cliché that love conquers all by submerging us into the cruelty of our own existence, navigating the unpredictability of love, grief, and a world we never asked for. Still, we can’t help but trust Frazier anyway with her language and imagery that’s ethereal and otherworldly. Either way, you’ll want to drown along with her on this journey.

Weeping in the Tropical Moonlit Night Because Nobody’s Told Her, by Fox Henry Frazier. Brooklyn, New York: Yes Poetry, July 2022. $20.00, paper.

Hillary Leftwich is the author of three books: Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock (CCM Press, 2019); Aura, a Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2022); and Saint Dymphna’s Playbook  (PANK Books, 2023). She is a small business/female-owned business of Alchemy Author Services & Writing Workshop and Community Coven—a community-based writing and liberated space. She teaches creative writing at Lighthouse Writers, the University of Denver, and Colorado College. She reads/selects/judges for The Colorado Book Awards and is a Kenyon Review scholarship alumnus (CNF, 2021). Her writing has been published in print and online in The Best Small Fictions 2021, The Rumpus, Entropy, Denver Quarterly, and others. She is a professional Tarot reader and teaches Tarot and Tarot-writing workshops focusing on strengthening divination abilities and writing. She lives in Denver with her partner, son, and their cat, Larry, where she also hosts/organizes At the Inkwell Denver, a literary reading series and liberated space for all voices.

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