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The Girl with Bees in Her Hair
Eleanor Wilner’s sixth collection creates a mythology that sees a planet too small and a universe too immense to support humanity’s illusions of importance. Her poems become a “choral work of the imagination” in which science is re-envisioned, gender assumptions challenged and beliefs rigorously questioned. As the old gods are reabsorbed into the modern world, Wilner disco ...more
Paperback, 110 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Copper Canyon Press
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I am grateful to Dennis Patrick Slattery, one of my Mythological Studies professors at Pacifica Graduate Institute for recommending ERW's poetry to me (us actually, there were 30 in my cohort). These poems are full of science and mythological imagery: the Big Bang, the first Moon landing, the precession of the Earth, Orpheus, Mnemosyne, Narcissus, Sappho, Dante, paleontology, Demeter, Pandora, human evolution and Eve. The poem, "Everything Is Starting," connects cosmogony and creation mythos, "A ...more
I only liked three and a half poems in this collection. (Transactions in a Field That's Overgrown, New Mexico Moon, The Girl with Bees in Her Hair, & 1/2 of A Short Poem About the Cosmos). It seems Wilner saves the striking moments, because they're rare and peppered about. I found myself growing bored of her style quickly as it's too straightforward for what I usually read. There were times I just wanted the poem to end, times the poem should have ended, but I would turn the page and there w ...more
Wilner has a nice sense of line, a rhythm and flow that push back the quotidian walls and invite the bees to swarm. Her imagery is neither as down-to-earth nor as transformative as Roethke's, but she aspires to his magical, dancing delivery. Some of the poems are obviously written for other poets and sacrifice thereby their claim to a universal audience. That seems an increasingly common trend as poetry continues its long retreat from living art to museum pieces for the cognoscenti, which is a s ...more