REMEMBERING ANIMALS Reviewed in The Diagram
"I often forget that I am animal. Most summer evenings I usually encounter one or two rabbits outside of my apartment in Minneapolis. I fixate on these creatures, their chaotic bodies, their boldness as they just shuffle along calmly in middle of the street, though a car could come any moment. Most people slow their vehicles when faced with these rabbits in the road, and I take comfort in how much care people take with these creatures. I also remember my own animal nature, and the great capacity we have to inflict violence on other species and one another. This is perhaps why I am drawn to "Rabbit Lesson," the second poem in Brenda Iijima's Remembering Animals.
'Rabbit Lesson' is a fable, which implicates the reader as they enter the rabbit's world. We grow attached to the rabbit, amidst looming violence...
Violence is a learned behavior in this poem. The violence that looms is both a part of the environment and the collective consciousness. The fox's violence is one that is natural and necessary. It is fluidly explored in the latter portion of this excerpt. The violence on the part of the "we" is one enacted by the shorter lines preceding. The movement is choppy and awkward throughout; Iijima performs the brokenness of a particular kind of violence that exists beyond what is necessary for survival. The different sections of this poem explore the tenuous and overlapping relationship between the natural world and the world in which "we" take part and construct..."
--Miriam Karraker for The Diagram