Review: How to Survive the Apocalypse

A book of poetry by Jacqueline Allen Trimble

Jacqueline Allen Trimble writes in her preface:
“Truth is, the world is always ending in one way or the other…

And yet, nothing is ever lost in the universe; it is merely transformed into something else like spirituals, sorrow, songs, the blues or poetry.”

How to Survive the Apocalypse is filled with strength and resilience. In the first poem, “Plague,” there is a practical voice leading us through to survival. There is also humor and fierceness. “What if the Supreme Court Were Really the Supremes?”. Trimble also blends history and current events with her work, such as “Oh, Say Can You See?” with Francis Scott Key’s song bumping against lines that remind us of innocent young black men murdered in recent years.

The final line in the eponymous poem is so strong:
“Survive the lynchings. Like your
ancestors. Live/
by rage and joy and turpentine”.

This is a beautifully produced, thoughtful book that is a pleasure to read.

Jacqueline Allen Trimble is professor of English and chairs the Department of Languages and Literatures at Alabama State University. An interview with the author appeared in the previous issue of The Blue Mountain Review