Toska explores a sense of rootlessness and a sort of anti-nationalism; how the pervasive sense of being an immigrant or "in but not of" a place never quite dissipates, particularly amid the dissonance and alienation felt within U.S. culture gunning towards a vision of imperialist capitalist white supremacist hegemony. Still, within this bleak reality, there's an insistence on documenting and noticing the multivalence of desire - its delights and pitfalls alike. These poems come to the weary conclusion, time and time again, that sexual liberalism/liberation and hedonism are only one sort of revelation-- that this sort of openness and exploration isn't enough to save anyone from despair or the existentially weary feeling of toska from which the title takes its name. But desire is not just Eros -- the poems carry a strong desire for a different world, for everyone.
By Alina Pleskova. Paperback. 88 pages. Published by Deep Vellum Publishing, 2023.