In All Violet, a young woman chronicles the experience of living on the margins, in spaces and places where body and mind are flayed by guilt, disappointments and betrayals.
Her poems record the shattering trauma of struggling to survive through periods of doubt, fear, rage and pain, creating a narrative of disconnection, indignation, alienation and emptiness, the extremes of suffering and desperation. Employing lyrical free verse, Rani Rivera has skillfully employed the short line to pinpoint moments of acute perception. Unadorned, taut and precise cries of pain, loss and fury draw the reader deeper and deeper inside this in-your-face confrontation with a dark world of foreboding alleviated by flashes of mordant wit and grace under fire. “A star student and sweet friend, Rani’s death hurts in a way only she could describe with beauty and grace: ‘I love them pretty/with their ugliness./I love them all violet/and blue.’ Her love for the world courses through this powerful collection like a clean, clear river, bathing and purifying the poison and the pain she delineates with a razor, her uncanny mind. New to these poems, I wish her back to praise her, and instead, say goodbye again, knowing she has left behind a stunning legacy, one that will be returned to, again and again, by anyone who knows, to quote Theodore Roethke, ‘the purity of pure despair.’ And to anyone who knows that life is wreching and sublime, all at once: All night, she turned violet and blue, betrayed by the Earth’s roll into darkness, leaving behind fields of flowers, bigger than oceans, and kindness, and love.” —Lynn Crosbie, writer, professor and author of The Corpses of the Future