Cascading through each of the poems in Gina Franco’s The Accidental is a question: What does it mean to be human in a world where the soul is exalted but the body brutalized? Franco explores the terrain of the borderlands—not just the physical space of the American southwest, but the spaces where lines are drawn between body and soul, God and self, violence and ecstasy. Unfolding along these borders in a torrent of deep contemplation, Franco’s poems bring the reader to the line between accident and choice, delving into the role each plays in creating the lives we are born into and in determining how those lives end. A body caught in a tree after a flood—an accident—calls to mind deliberate violences: crucifixion and lynching.
Guided, even so, by a stark hopefulness, The Accidental makes a character of the soul and traces its pilgrimage from suffering toward transcendence. “The soul saw,” Franco writes, “that it saw through the wound.” This book tenders a creation myth steeped in existential philosophy and shimmering with the vernacular of the ecstatic.