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The Usable Field by Jane Mead
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's review
Sep 18, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry
Read in September, 2008

Early on in Jane Mead’s third collection, The Usable Field, in the poem,“The Part – and the Whole of it,” Mead states “Stocking the globe is not/ my issue, taking stock is my issue – and deciding /what to do next.” And this is indeed a collection that is all about collecting one’s self and taking a deep breath. And for readers of Mead, this probably comes as a necessary relief after the poet’s very intense House of Poured Out Waters. The poet seems, after the trauma and violence of her previous collections, to now be at a desired crossroads as she tramps the fields with her dog (or dogs), surveying the world around her, her place in it. That’s pretty standard stuff in poetryville, but Mead’s poems bring both precision and weight to this familiar journey. Jane Mead is a special poet, and following her development makes for some essential poetry reading. But if you read her, please read her previous effort, House of Poured-Out Waters, since The Usable Field seems, to my reading, to be a natural outgrowth from that collection. I would also suggest her first collection, The Lord and the General Din of the World, which has many fine poems in it, but is radically different in style.
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