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DEPARTURE

Rosanna Warren, Author
Rosanna Warren, Author . Norton $22.95 (118p) ISBN 978-0-393-05819-2
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-0-393-32681-9
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Warren has worked extensively with translations (especially from Latin and Italian): in this fourth book of her own poetry (the first since 1993's much-honored Stained Glass ), long and masterfully elaborate sentences and unrhymed stanzas follow the poet's eye and mind across the landscapes of Europe and New England. Yet her most powerful poems concern a mother's dementia and death: " 'I told the daughter it was/ time to call in the Hospice.'// 'I am "the daughter"?'" one poem recalls, concluding "So have whole tribes/ passed from the memory of earth." Warren follows this intensely personal work with two sequences based on other artists' lives. Though one (about the composer Leos Janacek) may not transcend its sources, the other, "From the Notebooks of Anne Verveine," becomes a delightfully odd and heartfelt experiment: "That's how we know a god, when the facts/ leap at the tenderest innards." (Warren describes Verveine as "an imaginary French poet" whom she has chosen to translate into English.) Warren concludes with well-made poems about travel and marital love: if some seem all too purely descriptive, others display insight and hidden discipline that recall the last poems of Robert Lowell: in an airplane, "On the wing, the paint/ blisters in gunmetal eczema"; in "Lake," a masterful page-long sentence recalls "the heaviness/ of your own seasons and of illnesses not your own." (Oct.)

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