In I forgot to tell you, the title carries the urgent suggestion of withheld knowledge or something that has been suppressed but must be told. The poems reach out from the page with this narrative energy while maintaining an ironic weight of understatement.
This collection is divided into five sections, each one offering its own collective theme, while together, like the fingers of a hand, combining for greater purpose.
In Part I, "Celestial", a theme of intimacy is enhanced by acts of God and the threat of separation in everyday departures - dramatized against a backdrop of the macrocosm of the universe and the microcosm of molecules interlocking hands. In Part II, "Cerebral", a phobic portfolio catalogues the fears of our age ranging from the fear of driving following a car accident to a fear of contracting man-made diseases, from the concern of contaminants on the fruit we eat, to the anxiety of someone breaking into one's home, or the hesitation to travel by air following 911.
Part III, "Boxes", allows a satirical element to enter the poems. Here humankind is measured against its greatest achievements and its propensity for the straight line, the right angle and the box-like configurations that shape our existence from models of architecture to cars to registration forms.
In Part IV, "Revelations", lyrical and intimate poems emerge, drawing a historical line through Russell's evolution as a poet and meticulous care for how subtleties of language emerge.
Finally, in Part V, "Book of the Dragon", harding russell turns her attention to a series of allegorical and satirical poems that leans towards the mythopoeic as they slash through contemporary war, religion, and power in Orwellian fashion.
I forgot to tell you guides the reader through a corridor of secrets where the mysterious and the mystical are whispered, then shouted, to move us to the intimacy that Russell shares with us.