Nic Sebastian's Reviews > Midnight Voices

Midnight Voices by Deborah Ager
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's review
May 14, 09

bookshelves: blogging-poet
Read in April, 2009

A wide range of themes and settings in this finely-observed collection. Introspection tinged with melancholy, the decay of a stale relationship, credibly- and multiply-rendered spirit of place, shocking acts of domestic violence, the tragedy of miscarriage or stillbirth, kinetic childhood memories, the fanciful laments of shower water and a telephone, and more. Deborah’s poems have a signature lyricism, a discernment, and a precision in description that makes you want more. My personal favorite is The Hours, a captivatingly witty and lyrical meditation on dying that combines a modern hospital setting with the ancient symbolism of Charon’s coins, so we go from an opening line of "O, there will be water wrinkled/ In a plastic cup, there will be night" to: "On my tongue, the coins will be heavy,/ the coins will be sweet. O lord, // I will say." Many other poems also stood out for me – for example, Magnolia, a dynamic and disturbing account of domestic violence that begins: “He chased her with a knife . There were the whites of his eyes. There was the door slamming behind/her”; and Love Poem, a moving account of a miscarriage: "Used every towel twice,/ woke up to more, the warmth of it, / the dread of it, moving down my calf."

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