The River Speaks

Nora Laila Staklis

Sacramento poet Nora Laila Staklis’ first chapbook has poems based in memory (like “Books the Shy Girl Won’t Read in Public,” with its lists of restrictions shyness places on her life), poems based on the natural world and poems that address world issues. Among the latter is “Voices of American Soldiers Fighting.” A “found” poem based on a CNN news report, this is one of the strongest pieces in the book; the voices of the men are neither overly crafted nor didactic. Another high point is “The Incurable Car Thief,” in which a skateboarder takes up residence in parked vehicles. Hopefully, Staklis will grow to trust her voice more; some of these selections are more hesitant than they deserve to be and could benefit from a confident touch.