Domenic Scopa's Review of The New Sorrow
is Less Than the Old Sorrow by Jenny Drai
The New Sorrow Is Less than the Old Sorrow
Black Lawrence Press, 2015
Jenny Drai’s, The New Sorrow Is Less than the Old Sorrow, casts the reader into an emotionally charged ocean with only her imaginative language to grasp as a life preserver. The collection commences with the speaker reminiscing that her job, “reckoning with dirt,” “work not of an angel’s gate nor of the pathway to discovery.” Drai’s language astounds the reader with its startling elements of surrealism to convey the mental landscape of her speaker’s sufferings, both occupational and romantic, leaving the speaker in a state of stark fragility: “I don’t want to announce continuous birds but / have to get up. purloin glance, I dare you, 3 sharp / notes. blue ceaseless breath coiling among vines of / sleep and lights” and “white walls are still yellow. years of smoke. she says / rag in the stove, sponge in the soup. to be a light / with a professor. I have travelled arcs and outcomes / to coalesce” (Drai 15). The speaker begins to hint at the fragility that results from love towards the middle of the collection, revealing a “you:” “I want to be adroit for you,” which builds all the troubles that she experiences in the foreign country as an outsider. The Werther in us all also begins to creep into the speaker’s selfhood shortly after this revelation of the “you:” “Werther don’t pull our trigger” (Drai 18). Drai’s craft will surprise and frighten, and the outcome of the speaker’s mindset towards the culmination of the collection will lead readers to the source of self (selves) and the source of love (loves).