What Madness Brought Me Here

Colleen J. McElroy, Author
Colleen J. McElroy, Author Wesleyan University Press $14.95 (118p) ISBN 978-0-8195-1188-1
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
Bringing together poems from McElroy's ( Bone Flames ) previous collections, along with a dozen new pieces, this volume constitutes a protracted study in solipsism, as language, according to the poet, embodies our madness and cannot succeed in communicating. Madness also serves as a convenient metaphor for her style, which often emphasizes stream-of-consciousness and rifts in association: ``this is she it is I / we are pronouns abandoned / by all nouns / I am the crazy lady escaping from Sexton's poems.'' The poet believes ``Remembering too much of anything is its own / Form of madness,'' and the tone of this hard-to-swallow collection reflects her preoccupation with remembering the traumas she suffered as a child. In ``Breaking the Kula Ring,'' McElroy attempts to contain her memories of a home she is leaving within a ceremonial ring which would give her an easy security, but to no avail--``the unfinished metaphors / now trapped in hollow rooms / it is over, closed / like all the windows / the landlord has painted shut.'' (Jan.)
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