All American Girl

Robin Becker, Author
Robin Becker, Author University of Pittsburgh Press $14 (80p) ISBN 978-0-8229-5580-1
Hardcover - 69 pages - 978-0-8229-3917-7
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In her third collection, Becker (Giacometti's Dog) presents a washed out, chiaroscuro portrait of the lonely woman, whose lover ""...is beautiful and/ sees beauty where I see sadness..."" Readers, too, may search for moments of beauty, but Becker holds them at bay. These poems focus on the lesbian trying to fake it in a heterosexual milieu, the suicide's sister, the traveler hoping to fit in somewhere--from the 1950s Philadelphia of her childhood, Italy, France, New Mexico, Wyoming. Ultimately, this volume is more about leaving than loving; the speaker of the final poem considers ""how my life has been a flight/ from family, and how I've arrived/ at middle age without one."" The poems are intense, and a few (""Port-Au-Prince, 1960"" and ""The Ribbon"") are stirring, but too many focus on similar events from similar emotional perspectives, leaving readers ultimately unmoved. (Jan.)
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