A Woman Kneeling in the Big City: Poems

Elizabeth Macklin, Author
Elizabeth Macklin, Author W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (83p) ISBN 978-0-393-03400-4
Paperback - 96 pages - 978-0-393-31105-1
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The ``big city'' in Macklin's first book is New York. Indeed, many of the poems were first published in the New Yorker , and they are well crafted in the tradition of Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop. The tone of the work is polished, cosmopolitan, but too often there is thin meat on these musical bones. In ``There Is Still Water'' one stanza reads: ``All that we eat was fashioned / by someone.'' In ``A Confession of Lies,'' we find ``The truth: We aren't eager to die.'' One problem is the poet's indecision. In a lovely poem, ``Where Inside Is Dark or Light,'' the speaker sees buildings ``breathing'' with windows: ``I could be, I believed, in any one of them, / darkened or light, the glass seen through / like tears come into my eyes, from / grief or joy.'' Or in ``A Translation of Love in Public,'' she writes, ``We like or don't like to hear stories.'' Finally, the book is fortified by a cluster of strong work--including ``The Nearsighted,'' ``A Field Guide to Lesser Desires,'' ``The Only Child Sends a Gift to Her Mother'' and the title poem. In these, Macklin kindles the mystery of what she really cares about; she shows us the powerful poet she will become. (Oct.)
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