Ghost in a Red Hat

Rosanna Warren, Author
Rosanna Warren, Norton, $24.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-393-08006-3
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 03/01/2011
Paperback - 107 pages - 978-0-393-34370-0
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Warren's fifth book of poetry spans a wide range of topics, from classical mythology to personal traumas to both real and imagined histories. Warren approaches each subject with great directness. "I am willing to be rewritten," she says, and, "as long as the danger lived outside/ me I couldn't write it." These poems struggle to take others' pain in and then articulate it. One group of poems remembers her friend the poet and editor Deborah Tall: "We touched hands, touched cheeks, as much/ to ascertain we still had bodies as to show/ the courtesies of separation." Warren revives Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who famously designed Central Park, with the same intimacy she uses to recall memories of her loved ones in the extended meditation "Earthworks," which intertwines Olmsted's biography with quotes from Emerson's essays. And while the book is often elegiac, the poems are not without a kind of dark humor: "I still have one good eye, and when I squint,/ you wouldn't believe what I see." (Mar.)
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