This is a vivid, unforgettable set of debut poems - Sharon Olds' first published collection. She covers childhood, womanhood, mothering, and a journeyThis is a vivid, unforgettable set of debut poems - Sharon Olds' first published collection. She covers childhood, womanhood, mothering, and a journey period. The abuse she and her sister suffered from their father, the somewhat shifty presence of her own mother, her reluctance to be a mother and then being inside of it, all of it is honest and descriptively told.
A few excerpts from random poems:
"I did not understand his doom or my taste for the big dangerous body."
"I have known the Republican living rooms...."
"Once you lose someone it is never exactly the same person who comes back."
"I would kill for you. I remind myself it won't be necessary."
"She was home, then. This was her place, the one of all the others where she feared to walk, where someone had always arrived first, and would hold it against her at any cost."...more
These poems are very place-based, from Jim Daniels' childhood up through experiences as a teen and adult, in a Detroit already headed toward obliteratThese poems are very place-based, from Jim Daniels' childhood up through experiences as a teen and adult, in a Detroit already headed toward obliteration. Imagine Eminem's uncle, living a few streets up from 8 Mile, his parents hard-working factory workers, and that seems about right.
As I was going through the collection, I found something to like on almost every page. So here are some of the top highlights:
Welcome to Warren III. Hidden Beauty 9. "This won't hurt. It'll just kill you. On this church I shall build my rock. Upsidedownville is conducting a recount, demanding the beer and the chair, offering only the Elusive Smirk in exchange...."
And how's this for a childhood: Welcome to Warren VI. The End of Childhood "The gentle stench of poisoned weeds the absence of stately trees, adult supervision wide, flat factories and the chemical tar of their parking lots. Gearless bicycles and greasy rags and rolled-up T-shirts, the foreign tenderness of girls we shied away from, then dreamt about...."
Crayola Trailer Park Eight-Pack "....Prayer: subtle opaque blue murmur. Creates mirages. Erases as it goes."
Quitting the Day Job in the Middle Ages "...Here in the Rust Belt of the Flyover States
I fill out my forms, press hard on my memorized numbers.
That sound you hear is either the sound of the drain sucking down
the last bit of moisture or milk telling lies to my cereal."
You can see the poet read from this collection on YouTube.
(Thanks to the publisher for sending an eGalley through Edelweiss, which I saved for National Poetry Month.) ...more
When I requested this title in NetGalley, I did not realize it was an older book of essays coming up for a reprinting. I actually have another book frWhen I requested this title in NetGalley, I did not realize it was an older book of essays coming up for a reprinting. I actually have another book from the author on my "around the world" shelves at home - This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland. So she was on my vague periphery, but I was very happy to have had a chance to read this book, even if it isn't new.
In the late 1970s, Ehrlich travels to Wyoming on a documentary assignment. Her then-lover ends up dying, and she just stays and stays. This book collects her writings about the wide-open, the west, the prairie, and the people who live there. I understand that she first wrote these as journal entries, then as letters, and eventually revised them into a publishable form.
I loved them. I loved her insight into the sometimes elusive ranchers, sheepherders, farmhands, and cowboys. I loved her insight into herself. I loved her attention to details in nature, her ability to stop, slow down, and pay attention. I didn't include any of those quotes here since technically I have a review copy, but may return to this space once it is back out.
Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for the chance to read this forgotten gem....more
I saw this on a friend's reviews and since I'm reading a lot of poetry this month and always meant to read May Sarton, decided no time like the presenI saw this on a friend's reviews and since I'm reading a lot of poetry this month and always meant to read May Sarton, decided no time like the present!! (Thanks Lauren!)
When May Sarton turned 50, she took a trip around the world, and some of these poems come from that trip. She focuses a lot on places with specific religious practices, either current or historical. As such many of the poems about places are from the perspective of a person who does not belong, an outsider, who observes the religious practices and cultural differences but does not herself embody them. And that's okay, but it is more observation than understanding at times. The collections end with a set of poems she wrote in tribute to others who had passed, and these felt incredibly personal.
Of Havens (I think because I just finished Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City and this is all about doors and walls and shelter) "...The unsheltered cannot shelter, the exposed Exposes others; the wide open door Means nothing if it cannot be closed."
At Delphi "Everyone stands here And listens. Listens. Everyone stands here alone.
I tell you the gods are still alive And they are not consoling."
Notes from India "What I see is happening to me."
Japanese Prints "We regretted the rain, Until we saw the mists Floating the mountains On their dragon tails...."...more
These poems are focused on the quickly changing modes of communication, between the generations, between people, how even cursive may soon ce3.5 stars
These poems are focused on the quickly changing modes of communication, between the generations, between people, how even cursive may soon cease to have a shared meaning. The poems are short and often contain only one complete thought, some play with language and form.
city "...church of exhalations..." "this city is a molasses of whispers...."
answer "when I first wrote this sentence he was an- swering his telephone and now his cellular phone his cellphone his flip phone and now his smart phone his text message his text his twitter feed face book and now his facetime his skype his snapchat and now his watch and now"
send "...can you hear this over the static of the moon? this satellite of caresses. move the antennae of this love affair to pick up a new channel, a missed call...."
phone call "...and still your whispered silence the way you end sentences I can see you still"
touchscreen skin "our fingers become tongues...."
Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy through NetGalley...more
While reading these poems, I had the impression of a poet looking up at the stars, or the trees, or at the zoo, avoiding eye contact with other humansWhile reading these poems, I had the impression of a poet looking up at the stars, or the trees, or at the zoo, avoiding eye contact with other humans. The majority of the poems, as a result, are ruminations on nature and the future, identity and self, but hardly ever about a person in relation to another. As such I found them difficult to connect to. They might be for you, but they didn't really work for me.
Quadriptych "...As day sinks in, the music moults, the facets all collapse...."
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy through Edelweiss. I was able to use it as one of my daily poetry reads for National Poetry Month....more