Travel Notes from the River Styx

Travel Notes from the River Styx by Susanna Lang
Published by Terrapin Books
Published 26 May 2017
92 pages
Review copy

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I was given a copy by the publisher and voluntarily reviewed it.


In the earnest and beautiful Travel Notes from the River Styx, Susanna Lang peers into the tiny mirrors of a river’s current, the mirror her father cannot see himself in, the rear-view mirror in which she spies sandhill cranes on an afternoon drive as she interrogates the natural and, at times, unnatural world. The result is a collection of double images: the moon a “copper coin with the sheen worn off,” “the flag [that] slips down the pole,” the country where her grandmother was born once called Russia, now Ukraine. As clear in its language as it is rich in argument, there’s something for everyone in Travel Notes, for travellers are exactly what this poet proclaims we are. It’s impossible to read this collection without wondering what doubles wait/lurk/reside beneath the skin of our bodies and of our world.

From Road Trip

You remember the signs along the road
for underground caves, stalactites
zip lines, miracles. There was a sign….


This is my first time reading the poet. It won’t be my last.

I’m fascinated by Greek mythology, especially the concept of the River Styx. I also love the idea that people are haunted, by their life, experience, choices, people they have connected with. So I knew I would enjoy this collection of poems. I was right. Travel Notes from the River Styx contains some great poems that get to the emotional core of love, life and death. The poems are haunted and haunting, forcing me to read them more than once. I found the poems enjoyable and they will stay with me for a long time. My favourite poems were Road Trip, Processional, On the Coast of an Inland Sea, After You Get Up Early on Memorial Day and As If I Were My Mother. I’d highly recommend this collection.




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