In the Crevice of Time: New and Collected Poems

Josephine Jacobsen, Author
Josephine Jacobsen, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $29.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-8018-5116-2
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-8018-6339-4
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One turns to Jacobsen's poems not for flashy, egotistical juggling, but as to an old friend, for her dependable, philosophical voice, rich in technique and free from cliche. She imagines eliminating the ``monosyllable love'' from our language in the hope that someone ``will enunciate a syllable/ of force'' to replace it. ``What small/ metaphors we set/ ourselves,'' she laments elsewhere, and in poem after poem proves this need not be the case. Her gaze is often directed outward, sighting the estranged or deformed: clowns with highly individualized sorrows, deaf-mutes watching baseball. Whatever handicaps these subjects bear don't generate pity; if anyone seems deficient it will be the reader. Because her poems don't fall into easily recognizable categories- political, confessional, nature, or even formalist poetry (though she writes well in her share of forms)-Jacobsen is seldom anthologized. Yet her work has withstood the test of time better than many of her more-often-read contemporaries from the 1940s and 1950s. Her latest poems are modern and forceful. (June)
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