Fjords Reviews

HOME | BOOK REVIEWS | Control Bird Alt Delete by Alexandria Peary
Control Bird Alt Delete by Alexandria Peary



Fjords Review, Control Bird Alt Delete

Control Bird Alt Delete
by Alexandria Peary

University of Iowa Press
Facebook | Twitter
ISBN: 978—1-60938-245-2


by Christina M. Rau

About Christina M. Rau

Christina M. Rau is the author of the poetry chapbooks WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and For The Girls, I (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Founder of Poets In Nassau, a reading circuit on Long Island, NY, her poetry has appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show, on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project, and most recently in the journals Crony, Redheaded Stepchild and The Main Street Rag. In her non-writing life, she practices yoga occasionally and line dances on other occasions. Find her links on

Facebook | Twitter


July 10, 2015

Control + Alt + Delete has become a mantra for those who have PC issues and need to restart their computers; this hot button command does the trick. Here, Alexandria Peary places a bird into the mix, and what ensues is a journey that wanders indoors and outdoors through mazes of nostalgia and dreams. Control Bird Alt Delete, the winner of the 2013 Iowa Poetry Prize, delivers a collection filled with imagistic wordplay that creates a curious landscape.

The tension between outside and inside begins with the first poems where the first of many “cellar hole[s]” appears within a rundown landscape. In “Fridge,” indoor appliances appear outside in disarray and in “Like That,” “An enormous snow-covered branch / is threatening the living room.” This contrast continues throughout many poems, expressing the way technology pulls us inside and the wonder of nature pulls us outside. In “In hallways made of dashes,” this technology becomes a maze “because those streets had been brought inside, / in a labyrinth carved out of nostalgia.”

This nostalgia and reoccurring struggle between worlds creates a lonely tone. The idea of the outsider appears, especially in a later poem, “The Coil.” Here, a litany of groups appears in a section about a shopping mall: “the packs, colonies, swarms, flocks, / the congress, troop, gang, congregation, / the mob, cast, brood, nest, / school, company, bevy, horde and covey, / all great & small” in contrast to “a Toyota Corolla & ¼ of a shopping mall,” a very lonely place. Often, the objects in these poems are static in places where movement could be. In “A Strip of Woods at the Back of the Mind,” the forest becomes the setting, as in many of the verses, but this natural setting has very little of the action the natural world should hold. This verse speaks of “Glued-on trees” and “strips of bricks” and sets them “in a woods in a box when the room of the mind / has an easy chair and 3 large trees.” The diction often includes lists of objects without verbs or the stagnant verb “to be,” so that everything simply exists.

Repetition and rhythm reinforce the cohesion of the poems, and without those, the collection seems scattered. “Lawn Ornaments, Robins, Ode to Clocks” begins, “The musical sentences / of soft blue and orange letters / blow across the yard,” but that is not the only place musicality comes through. “Bird Pattern” calls back to earlier poems in the collection and then alludes to bird songs, perhaps the original Jazz. Within this bird sequence, the speaker observes a “puzzle of sounds.” Some poems are more musical than others in which repetition really revs up as in “Oh, Massachusetts,” as it parallels the landscape with the a strumming beat, the speaker revealing, “I am only a mile from my heart.”

The journey picks up speed towards the end of the collection, taking on a narrative slant in some places. The scenes become populated with people who have names in addition to the objects and empty places. Movement appears in “Q&A” with “You leapt over the rock wall. Yes, repeatedly.” The introduction of “you” creates a more familiar and less lonely tone.

Overall, the scattered sense of organization is a drawback, but the intriguing balance of worlds combined with the mystery of mazes and memory offer insight into how humans live in today’s world.


Blog and Twitter of Author: | @WriteMindfully


And Then by Donald Breckenridge

Dear Everyone by Matt Shears

Magic City Gospel by Ashley M. Jones

Intimacy by Stanley Crawford

Lunch Poems by Deborah Kuan

The Best American Poetry 2016

One with the Tiger by Steven Church

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

The King of White Collar Boxing by David Lawrence

They Were Coming for Him by Berta Vias-Mahou

Verse for the Averse: a Review of Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry

That Other Me by Maha Gargash

Simone by Eduardo Lalo

Swimming by Karl Luntt

Ghost/ Landscape by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher

Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus

Bad Light by Carlos Castán

Diaboliques by Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly

Staying Alive by Laura Sims

Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo

Fireflies by John Leland

Maze of Blood by Marly Youmans

Tender the Maker by Christina Hutchkins

Little Anodynes by Jon Pineda

Conjuror by Holly Sullivan McClure

Someone's Trying To Find You by Marc Augé

The Four Corners of Palermo by Giuseppe Di Piazza

Now You Have Many Legs to Stand On by Ashley-Elizabeth Best

The Knowledge by Robert Peake

The Darling by Lorraine M. López

How To Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes

Watershed Days: Adventures (A Little Thorny and Familiar) in the Home Range by Thorpe Moeckel

[INSERT] BOY by Danez Smith

Demigods on Speedway by Aurelie Sheehan

Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg

Singing Bones by Kate Schmitt

Knuckleball by Tom Pitts

Wandering Time by Luis Alberto Urrea

Teaching a Man to Unstick His Tail by Ralph Hamilton

Domenica Martinello: The Abject in the Interzones

Twelve Clocks by Julie Sophia Paegle

Love You To a Pulp by C.S. DeWildt

Even Though I Don’t Miss You by Chelsea Martin

Women by Chloe Caldwell

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

ESSAY 2:12 A.M. by Kat Meads

Revising The Storm by Geffrey Davis

Quality Snacks by Andy Mozina

Midnight in Siberia by David Greene

Strings Attached by Diane Decillis

Down from the Mountaintop: From Belief to Belonging by Joshua Dolezal

The New Testament by Jericho Brown

You Don't Know Me by James Nolan

American Neolithic by Terence Hawkins

Phoning Home: Essays by Jacob M. Appel

Words We Might One Day Say by Holly Karapetkova

Murder by Danielle Collobert

Sorrow by Catherine Gammon

The Americans by David Roderick

Put Your Hands In by Chris Hosea

I Think I Am in Friends-Love With You by Yumi Sakugawa

Third Wife by Jiri Klobouk

box of blue horses by Lisa Graley

Review of Hilary Plum’s They Dragged Them Through the Streets

The Sleep of Reason by Morri Creech

The Hush before the Animals Attack by Carol Matos

Regina Derieva, In Memoriam by Frederick Smock

Review of The House Began to Pitch by Kelly Whiddon

Hill William by Scott McClanahan

Seamus Heaney Aloft

The Bounteous World by Frederick Smock

Review of The Tide King by Jen Michalski

Going Down by Chris Campanioni

Review of Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade by Rob Cook

Review of The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor

Review of The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish

Review of Life Cycle Poems by Dena Rash Guzman

Review of Saint X by Kirk Nesset

Review of Jessica Treadway's Please Come Back to Me

Eve Asks by Christine Redman-Waldeyer