by Chelsey Clammer
Red Hen Press

"And what if thinking about trigger warnings triggers you?
Warning: this sentence contains the word 'warning.'"

Circadian is a compilation of a dozen essays that are as broad in scope as they are daring in execution. Written by the author during her residency in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program, the lyric essays, outlines, bullet points, and diagrams come together in bold and exciting ways to tell her story. Issues like suicide, body issues, gender and sexual orientation, family, and sexual assault are broached in a personal way, allowing readers of any background or opinion to learn about the experiences from someone else’s perspective and daily challenges. While the underlying material is intensely individual and jarring for some, Clammer’s approach is disarming, finding clever ways to blend metaphors and humor into memories and musings that would stop others in their tracks. In this volume, the author proves that no topic is taboo, especially with the right choice of words.

The therapy of putting pen to paper and giving voice to thoughts gives the author a soapbox in a style that is both alluring and artful. These flourishes and compositional acrobatics help propel the reader forward through subject matter that would prove difficult reading on the page of a more restrained author. For every moment and statement that hits like a gut punch, there’s a dose of levity—a balancing act that shows that even dark times have things to laugh about or find peculiar if you look hard enough. It would not be a stretch to say that most readers will come away from this collection touched, opened up emotionally, and able to see the world in a different way. The raw, powerful emotions combined with meticulous and masterful vocabulary and grammatical construction create a reading experience that is profound, sobering, and still enjoyable in its artistry and authenticity.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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