Books

the discovery

Essays examine the various skins we inhabit

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Reading the essays in Anna Journey’s elegant, haunting new collection, “An Arrangement of Skin’’ (Counterpoint) is like cracking open a closet door and peering in to see a tight and private collection of oddities, secrets, and skeletons. Journey, a poet (“The Atheist Wore Goat Silk’’; “If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting’’), brings lyricism to her prose, writing about graveyards, infidelity, a tattoo artist named Captain Morgan, and, in the strongest piece in the book, a lesson about taxidermy with a starling, in which pulling back its skin “felt similar to pushing apart the fuzzy velveteen of a ripe peach.” These are intimate, delicate essays about the many skins we inhabit, illuminating even in their darkness.

NINA MACLAUGHLIN