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Dana Goodyear, Author
Dana Goodyear, Author . Norton $23.95 (72p) ISBN 978-0-393-06006-5
Reviewed on: 04/04/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005

Since winning the undergraduate's Hopwood Prize at Yale in the late '90s, Goodyear has been pretty much unstoppable, landing first at PW , and then, quickly, at the New Yorker , where she is now a staff writer, and where several of the poems from this debut collection first appeared. They have a stark set of emotional registers that blend lingering anger over parental neglect and divorce ("Mother was never in the same room with any of us./ I think she was a hostess, in which case I should say,/ Thank you for having me") with patrician codes, and the cool accusations, failures, actings out and excitements of current loves. They often read as if a Susan Minot character were channeling Dorothy Parker: "Give the hypothermic girl/ a stiff hot drink./ The mouth of a stranger is a pocket of breathable air./ Its spit is a warm vital flow." All the poems are short and well-calibrated. Some have Dickinson-like formal rhymes that come off as motivated, if not always satisfying ("And human love and unison are null/ when even solitude is terminal"); some are littered with offhand allusions to class trappings that fail to sustain ("Cross-breeze. Swiss dot. View"). Goodyear is at her best when her speaker is at her meanest, which isn't quite often enough, but taken as a whole, her poems perfectly reproduce the claustrophobic atmosphere of love among the ruins of plenty. (Apr.)