With Little Savage, Emily Fragos delivers a magnificent collection in the American tradition of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. With clean, strongly wrought lines she builds poems that are elegant and powerful. Marie Ponsot calls the collection “remarkable.” What separates Fragos from her contemporaries is her amazing ability to empathize with the characters she creates — the misfits, the artists, the children kept in a fifteenth-century school, the composer going mad. She convincingly becomes a young girl in the Venetian conservatory for the abandoned: “Sofia del violino. Once I saw myself / in a clear puddle of rain / water. My teeth are very crooked, I / know. We are none of us / startled by the other. We are all / the same. To Heaven.” These moments ache with honesty, and humility, and make us wish that every sentiment expressed by Fragos could be true. Deceptively simple poems written by an unostentatiously skilled poet, Little Savage is permeated with a reverence for nature, music, myth, and dance — a veritable treasure trove of compassion and grace.
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