Furious Cooking: Poems

Maureen Seaton, Author
Maureen Seaton, Author University of Iowa Press $16 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87745-541-7
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Female sexuality, Catholic iconography and the New Jersey Turnpike take mischievous transformative spins in Seaton's wry, fervent and mercurial third book of poetry (winner of the 1995 Iowa Poetry Prize). A streetwise, postmodern alchemist, Seaton blends odd groupings of imagery to deliver the reader into new, always intimate, poetic landscapes. In this accomplishment, she calls on a subtle but firm command of craft (most poems are in free-verse couplets or triplets) and an agile sense of play. In ""Theories of Illusion,"" pandas, orchids, humpback whales and quantum physics offer hilarious metaphors for the shifty nature of the speaker's ex-boyfriend, ""in his many disguises/ in and around America."" Contrasting with this and similarly intellectually rompish poems, e.g., ""Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death,"" are the four resonant, feminist ""Malleus Maleficarum"" poems, inspired by the Inquisition-era handbook of the same name that outlined actual procedures for trying, torturing and killing so-called witches. Characteristically, Seaton handles this disturbing material with inventiveness (setting one in Coney Island) and radiantly precise language. (Apr.)
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