Loose Sugar is an alchemical manuscript disguised as a collection of poems, or vice versa. Either way, the primal materials of which this book is comprised -- love, sex, adolescence, space-time, depression, post-colonialism, and sugar -- are movingly and mysteriously transmuted: not into gold, but into a poet's philosopher's stone, in which language marries life. Structurally virtuosic, elaborate without being ornate, Loose Sugar is spun into series within series: each of the five sections has a dual heading (such as "space / time" or "time / work") in which the terms are neither in collision nor collusion, but in conversation. It's elemental sweet talk, and is Brenda Hillman's most experimental work to date, culminating in a meditation on the possibility of a native -- and feminine -- language.

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