Captive Love, A Memoir of Rescue
Polyphonic, Quattro Books, December 2017
Captive Love is a love story whose foundation recounts a kind of imprisonment. It is about diversity and similarity. It investigates in part the workings of minds which are not human but with which humans are in daily life most connected.
These beings are highly intelligent and sensitive and are crucial to humans’ sense of well-being. Many books have been published recently about hawks, and eagles and whales and cephalopods, and elephants, but Karen Mulhallen takes us on a journey with the mammals with whom humans are intimate, dogs, cats, guinea pigs.
Part memoir, primarily poetry, but also in prose and in letters, Mulhallen’s journey begins with a series of profound personal losses and the subsequent coming into her life of a number of pets. The pets are not human beings and from one perspective can be seen to be captured. Through her life with these animals, Mulhallen begins to understand the ways in which they have captured her. They lead her to profound moments of joy and peace, to the beauty of the dawn, to the light on water.
This is a new direction, an intimate, haunting, deeply moving, domestic book by a poet whose more recent work has examined the political dystopias of our time.