- All the Wrong Men by Aviya Kushner is an inventive chapbook. To call this chap an exploration of gender relations would not be quite right. To call it an investigation into the biblical story of Adam and Eve would be to sell it short. To say that it encompasses a great deal of the authors personal experiences as a woman would be accurate but not the whole story. To say it is all of these things would be on the money.
- These poems are less infused by Eve as guided by her. We take her hand we follow in her lithe steps.
- from Honey from the wrong man
Honey, he says, and I melt,
even though I heard that easy endearment
from every driver at every motel
as I drove through half the country:
This country I was born in
but never totally understand,
which is why I drive through it
every few years, to take another look.
- But this path is at times a frank and harrowing one and not stuck in a biblical past. Ms. Kushner does an admirable job of running the gamut of contemporary experiences. She doesn’t shy away from a darker exploration of life.
- from Evenings in my part of Chicago
In the night now
I pass the winos
and the toothless hooker—
even her wails
men come to her,
how they come to her,
it all hours—
And I pass that woman
who I sometimes
earns a fortune
at the mouth
of the train station
toothless and wordless
as she is—
Then I go to the stones
at the edge of the lake
And I do not think
about God at all,
I think only of nights
- Ms. Kushner knows what she is taking about.