Book Review: Flying Yellow, by Suzanne Underwood Rhodes

Like the best marriages, the term pietas metrica, employed by the poet-priest Gerard Manley Hopkins, joins the highest expressions of nature and religion. Suzanne Underwood Rhodes’ Flying Yellow: New and Selected Poems further deepens and humanizes this notion, moving from the “pitch-black storms” of girlhood to a “ladder of arms” raising her to an ecstatic Sufi-like whir capturing in word and heart the fruited world around and within her.

The Clown

You stand next to a clown, a real clown, with the painted white face and spongy red wig. He has pulled you to the front of the room, where he speaks rapid Spanish that you cannot understand. Everyone else in the room—including the Peruvian family you’ve been teaching—understands what he is saying, and laughs. All you’ve picked out is the word “Mormon.” What you understand: You are the butt of the joke. No, you are the joke.