Love, an Index is Rebecca Lindenberg’s first book, and the debut volume in the recently announced McSweeney’s Poetry Series.
This series of poems traces her relationship with poet Craig Arnold. Lindenberg began the book while he was still alive, in fact started working on it three years before his disappearance. But after losing him, it became something closer to an elegy which, as mentioned in her interview in The Believer, is both celebration and mourning.
Adult/High School–Poet Craig Arnold disappeared while hiking a volcano in Japan in 2009. The woman who loved him writes about their relationship and her sense of loss without explanation. There is no preface; the tragic event is explained in the blurb on the back cover. The first poem, “What Rings but Can’t Be Answered,” is touching and could speak to anyone who has ever waited for a call from a loved one. “I want to be the crackers in your soup,/I want to be your brass compass. Oh, mister,/just thinking about you curls the ends of my hair.” Thirty-one pages are given to the alphabetical listing of remembrances and feelings as the couple’s story is told. “A ABANDON, what I did when you touched me that winter with an ungloved hand.” “C COMPROMISE, I will get up early with you so long as you’ve made coffee.” “O Over, when I answered the phone that May morning and the man from the search team said, “It’s over.” The entries take readers from Bogota to Rome where the couple traveled and explored. Sometimes Lindenberg explains in prose poetry what she is doing and thinking. The overall effect of sadness builds until readers feels her tremendous loss. The slim volume is beautiful and romantic and should appeal to teen readers.–Karlan Sick, formerly at New York Public Library