By Rebecca Lindenberg
McSweeney’s Books, $18.00, 96 pages

In 2009 a poet disappeared while hiking a Japanese volcano. Love, an Index tells the journey of grief Rebecca Lindenberg experienced while mourning the loss of her love. This poetry collection is not the kind of book one sits down with and reads from cover to cover. Instead it should be dipped into from time to time to experience the tiny worlds Lindenberg has created. The most interesting part of this book is the way the author plays with form. She uses free form amalgamations of words and even re-creates a phrasebook of what people really mean when they give condolences. “My sympathies” translates to “I fear to say something that might make it worse.” “You’re so strong” is code for “I can see you’ve showered.”

It is hit or miss when reading these poems. Some seem to be trying too hard like “Fragment” and “The Girl with the Ink-Stained Teeth”, while others are refreshing and whimsical like “Losing Language: A Phrasebook” and “Illuminating.” Overall, Love, an Index is a nice collection of modern poetry. A reader could do worse than to pick up this compendium from a publisher known for exceptional taste.

Reviewed by Andrew Keyser