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TROUBLE IN MIND

Lucie Brock-Broido, Author
Lucie Brock-Broido, Author . Knopf $23 (88p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4083-4
Paperback - 75 pages - 978-0-375-71022-3
Ebook - 88 pages - 978-0-307-54831-3
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Gorgeous and mournful, ornate and deeply felt, Brock-Broido's very much anticipated third volume follows up on The Master Letters (1995), whose highly wrought poems of love and self-abasement paid homage to Emily Dickinson (and many other literary precursors), and made Brock-Broido a center of attention among younger poets and critics, at least on the East Coast. Trouble combines the lyrical elaboration of that earlier volume with a direct and very affecting sadness. Many consider the death of the poet's parents: "First, my father died. Then my mother/ Died. My father died again"; "It is Thursday and I want to die/ Later." Brock-Broido, who directs the program in poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts, puts raw grief within extravagant, elaborate language that counter-points Carol Muske-Dukes's recent Sparrow . One poem promises "The One Theme of Which Everything Else is a Variation"; others tour versions of Hell, evoke the dreadful hush of funereal vigils, or invoke memory's "factory/ Of slandering and fame." Butterflies, antique shepherds, hospital beds, Scottish weather, dire wolves and caravans (symbols throughout the book) track the poet's melancholic psyche: "The heart is a place made slippery/ As a minnow confused out// Of its school and caught": these poems confirm Brock-Broido as a poet who finds renewed languages for the recurrent dilemmas such hearts contain. (Jan.)

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