Black Elephants's Reviews > Dear Editor: Poems

Dear Editor by Amy Newman
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's review
Apr 12, 2012

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bookshelves: poetry
Read in April, 2012

Each poem in this collection is a letter to a nameless editor from a poet seeking publication for her collection about chess, sainthood, and the poet's lonely childhood. It's an interesting read, but what I liked best about it was how it reminded me of the mythology of the saints. My favorite excerpts are below:

From page 50

My grandmother would not permit a dress of any fabric you might find on Cinderella or Rapunzel, such as silks or cashmeres, gorgettes or chiffons, although on every holy card I've seen the saints are wearing beautiful flowing outfits not made of tweed or corduroy, I guarentee you.

I would like a garment like Dorothy of Caesarea, flowing and folded pink and carmine, like the crisp apples and long-stemmed roses she sent to her tormentors after they tortured her for her purity and she remained under even those filmy fabrics, one immaculate, spotless, reverent girl as would I, I swear, on a stack of dull dictionaries, even with all their understated, peevish classifications.

From page 46:

One afternoon my grandmother had her bridge club over to introduce the new couple in town to the church, because she knew that the wife was a temptress, and it was the club's intent to serve cheese crackers and crab puffs so that the speech about His Love would go down easily in the midst of their socializing and the new couple would join the flock. I was delighted by such Eucharistic intervention, a diversion of the wafer in church. He appears all over inside and out while you are concentrating on the soft wafer and your throat and stomach on it's caloric absorption.

But my grandmother said, "the wafer is not a holy hors d'oeurve it is a sure piece of evidence and proof He is with us" but that's what I meant and even as I carried the trays of crab puffs with their pink interiors I decided it was right to think so because isn't grace the invisible what-ness of Thou in wherever we find It or, more to the point, where we perceive and experience the adornment of all that love?

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