A Lynne Sharon Schwartz Reader: Selected Prose and Poetry

Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Author University Press of New England $19.95 (267p) ISBN 978-0-87451-591-6
``A writer writes anything and everything,'' Schwartz ( Leaving Brooklyn ) says in her introduction to this miscellany. While all but one of the stories are selected from previous collections, the poems and essays appear for the first time in book form. The tone is conversational and personal to the point of sharing secrets; memory replaces erudition. The themes of essays and stories intertwine. Both, for instance, contain a fascination with other cultures. Reminiscences about an ongoing friendship with a black housekeeper are offset by a story about a Jewish girl's gradual drifting away from her black piano teacher. The naming process is integral to these works (one story is a wonderful tour de force about an elderly widow so anxious for someone to call her by her first name that she begins spray-painting it all over town). A few weak moments, such as a 1974 attempt to turn the Watergate tapes into a theater piece, can easily be excused in a volume this enjoyable. The poems, neither lyric nor narrative, don't succeed as poetry but take interesting risks. Here Schwartz juxtaposes varied elements and strays furthest from the autobiographical base that informs the other pieces here. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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