The Poetry: The poems in Poisoned Apples make use of lyricism, metaphor, and imagery. Formally, Heppermann primarily employs free verse, but also includes haiku and villanelle. Many of the poems are quite arresting. For example, the poem "Spotless" features a five-stanza poem juxtaposed with a black-and-white photograph of a woman in white buried to the waist in a mountain of snakes, her face averted from the viewer. The speaker of the poem in "Spotless" begins,
So I whet one razor
after another against the stony
flesh of my leg until in barely
any time at all I have seven sharp
lines (95).The poem then uses anaphora and imagery in its description of the body: "as deep as the silence of my days, / as straight as the path I ran from / the huntsmen, / as red as those three drops" (95).
The Page: The poems in the collection are accompanied by black-and-white photographs by various artists. The photography adds considerably to the collection in that it contributes yet another example of the way in which fairy tales can be updated to reflect contemporary realities.
I thoroughly enjoyed Heppermann's collection, and I give it four stars.