Private Hunger, Melody Lacina’s first collection of poetry, begins as a book of snapshots from a family album, becomes a carousel of colorslides from travels in Europe, and concludes as a gallery of poems celebrating the vitality of the body and its enormous appetite for life. Lacina is also a poet who can say, in the credo that opens the book,”I believe in the underside … the rhythm and off-rhyme of the ordinary.” If this is a book about passion and “private hunger” (“Food and sex. / What else matters? Words.”), it is also familiar with unsatisfied longings, losses, grief, and death, understanding how our desires sustain and torment us from childhood to the end.
Lacina’s succinct poems lift anecdote to revelation, in spare lines, taut rhythms, and a voice that can register anything from anxiety to ecstasy. It may not be rare, in these times, to find a woman writing evocatively about sensual pleasures, but it is surely unusual to discover a poet who also has this much sense of balance and control, and such lively command of the common tongue.