Breathe Now, Breathe

Jane Duran, Author
Jane Duran, Author Enitharmon Press $15.95 (62p) ISBN 978-1-870612-52-4
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Displacement is the dominant theme in this first collection from a poet who was born in Cuba, raised in the U.S. and Chile and settled in London 30 years ago. Poems have such titles as ""Migrations,"" ""Expatriate,"" ""Time Zones"" and ""Navigator"" (which begins ""Already he's American""). Other poems depict their narrator flying, traveling by boat, donkey, zebra. ""In all these places we have been/ there will be no trace of us,"" Duran writes mid-volume, expressing directly the quiet sadness lingering behind the previous pieces. Four poems of terminated pregnancies are followed, in a masterful segue, by a portrait of her niece carrying and carving a pumpkin. Weaker poems include character portraits, childhood memories and new, yet cliched fairy tales. By the end of this volume, which won the 1995 Forward Poetry Prize for best first collection, Duran's themes fuse to give readers an unnerving portrait of a childless woman without roots. (Apr.)
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