An Alien Here reviewed on The Time Garden

Klyd Watkins reviewed An Alien Here for The Time Garden:

The time gardener reviews Leah Angstman’s An Alien Here  
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I have found me a new poet to enjoy. I became aware of Leah Angstman because she is involved with, or perhaps she is, Propaganda Press, which has published David Pointer’s Ice Age. Now, I have read a short stack of Leah’s chaps. I feel they all contribute to an inside-out autobiography. The poems come with such intimacy from the speaker that at times the external scene is briefly left unset. The honesty with which a life is examined in Leah’s books must have value—perhaps the kind of value we used to get more from fiction, until Bukowski moved Henry Miller’s narrative style into free verse. In Leah Angstman’s poetry, the reality of emotion almost rudely bumps the language up into song. As here, from “afternoons like this”:   
we are boob adjustments right before
we catch his eye
we are what our friends like
and often what they wear
we are mostly dead
but sometimes so alive
on afternoons like this  
Her style uses a conversational diction camouflaged in the speech of her reasonably articulate peers, so much so that when metaphor or simile show up, the figurative language seems to have had to push itself through the failure of the literal. This can leave the metaphor, metaphorically, thrashing about out of control at times, but it disallows the falseness of figurative language as adornment. Her style being based on the speech of her contemporaries leaves it far stronger than if it were based on the writing of her contemporaries. From “in bed with nicotine sex”: 
stale in the air you
humanize public breathing waste
breathing nicotine waste 
Another fortunate characteristic of her style—her line is real, a forward force, a pedal of rhythm. 
when we’re wounded
we’re wounded so bad
holding hands up
they won’t be tied
hold me up
i’m so high
i am so high 
(From “on scott weiland, pt one”) 
Don’t go to Leah Angstman’s poetry for the wrong reasons—don’t go there to reinforce a Pollyanna greeting card sense of reality. Don’t go without the generosity of spirit to appreciate the whole range of what is exposed. In another chap of hers (I write this from memory) a girl tells her, tells the speaker in the poem, “i hate your poetry,” and the speaker in the poem answers, “i hate you too.” So there it is, the human war of self and mirror, right in the face. I argue with her myself. She is a boy/man watcher, that’s a good thing, and she’s very good at conveying the sexual yearning of early groping and such—you can find plural skilled examples in her work of either—but when it comes to actual fucking, awkwardness is more likely to be portrayed than fulfillment. Again you could find plural examples, like this one from “riding bareback”: 
did you cum
he asks
i think hard for a minute 
But I stop my argument and think, well this is a sign of good writing, that I am engaged with some very honest, human centric verse. 
Leah Angstman’s world is not altogether grim. I love her memory of being with her grandfather (from “1926”), 
i was a kitten with twitching whiskers 
and look here, don’t you love this? (from “my memories don’t fade because i keep breathing life into them”) 
there’s a part of you that
doesn’t belong to her
and I know because I licked the spoon
and no one wants the ice cream
once the spoon’s been licked
except the licker