Rikki Santer's dazzling How to Board a Moving Ship makes the familiar brilliantly strange again. Neighbors are bears in "golden vanilla coats," garden gnomes wander, adolescence is electric and ever present, headlines promise life on other planets, and the cruel pageantry of our government is loud as a carnival. Between the lights and neighborhoods and catwalks, loss lives here, too, as when Santer describes her mother: "the palindrome of my mother's / chest scars, targets where her breasts used to be." Santer is both a magician and our Virgil, guiding us through each vignette, whether it's a vision from childhood - "memories wash / lean in the tides-red rover, red rover" - or "the politics of textile" and the splendor and harm of fashion. Santer invites us to marvel and reminds us that even in an unpredictable and painful world, there is still so much wonder ready for an audience.
-Ruth Awad, author of Set to Music a Wildfire.