Vortex Street, Page Hill Starzinger


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Last swelling of the uterus, last circuit of a childhood home, last flare of recognition on a father’s face: “It is most certainly the end of something,” writes the poet in these pages. And upon that unblinking apprehension builds an edifice of praise. We love the world because we are doomed to lose it, and nowhere is that love more eloquently manifest than in poems like those of Vortex Street.
—Linda Gregerson

Confirming the truth that grief is the growing-pot of beauty, Vortex Street mourns the passage of time in the forms of loss of youth and youthful dreams, dying parents, omnipresent knowledge of the world’s violence, the past enshrined in a house for sale. Page Hill Starzinger, acute and excitingly associative, articulates these complex sorrows with unflinching originality. These poems remind the reader what it feels like to live in the moment as moments inexorably move on; they will stay with you.
—Kathleen Ossip

Past Praise for Page Hill Starzinger
Fiery, stark, and hyper-self-aware, Vestigial threads feminist impulses
through narratives of precarity and desolation.
—The Boston Review on Vestigial

Galaxy Filament

Of time evaporating, of my mother’s finger 
running down my nose during the uncording 
ceremony, after she died, the vast sky,
the Milky Way neighborhood,
and me, and David, and the black cat growing tumors,
rain falling, drops left over, puddles gathering, 
reflecting the baby birds, black millipedes dropping
off branches, white blossoms floating below cedar, 
sunrays bleaching shells, stop signs fading,
a family of wild donkeys milling around
an outdoor basketball court at noon in high heat,
sargassum mats drifting from the horse latitudes
into Drunk Bay, flush with plastic waste and
eel nests, washing onto sandstone rocks,
a lost rubber raft cast ashore with a long towline dragging in the surf,
chickens jump-flapping off trash heaps filled with twisted stair railings 
and corrugated roofs blown off by 30 tornados
of two Cat 5 hurricanes, red dust from the Sahara Desert
sifting toward us, nutrients feeding the phytoplankton
but also pathogenic bacteria of the genus Vibrio,
iguanas digging nests into the ground and burying their eggs
until hatchlings crack the shells, wait underground
until each emerges, then one after the other, in a line,
scratch their way out. A lone heron soars across the bay.


Page Hill Starzinger’s first poetry collection, Vestigial, selected by Lynn Emanuel to win the Barrow Street Book Prize, was published in 2013. Her chapbook, Unshelter, selected by Mary Jo Bang as winner of the Noemi contest, was published in 2009. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Fence, West Branch, Pleiades, Volt, and others. Starzinger was Copy Director at Aveda for almost twenty years, and co-authored A Bouquet from the Met (Abrams, 1998). She lives in New York City.