The Tatters, from Prairie Schooner (March 12, 2014)
In this nuanced and moving new collection of poems, Brenda Coultas weaves a meditation on contemporary life and our place in it. Coultas, who is known for her investigative documentary approach, turns her attention to landfills and the odd histories embedded in the materials found there. The poems make their home among urban and rural detritus, waste, trinkets, and found objects. The title poem, for example, takes its cue from the random, often perfect, pigeon feathers found on city streets. In a seamless weave of poetic sentences, The Tatters explores how our human processes of examination are often bound up with destruction. These poems enable us to be present with the sorrow and horror of our destructive nature, and to honor the natural world while acknowledging that this world no longer exists in any pure form, calling to us instead from cracks in the sidewalk, trash heaps, and old objects.