There is a plastic rooster and a frog to the left, and the hind legs of two brown horses to the right. It’s a spooky old merry-go-round, set against a yellow backdrop, and crowned with an appropriately morose title: “Sitting Shiva For Myself.” Welcome to Renee Blitz’s latest poetry collection (Regent Press), the underrated gem of the year.
Pathetic animals, set in mechanical motion, stare at the reader from the book’s cover with uncanny sadness, as if warning: This is a book of mourning — for us — for we were never alive to begin with. So too, Blitz’s poems address all manner of innate miseries and built-in human dysfunctions. There are generational conflicts; death and its intimations; sexuality and the inability to cope with it; poverty and failed ambitions.