A Quarter Turn

Debra Nystrom, Author
Debra Nystrom, Author Sheep Meadow Press $10.95 (65p) ISBN 978-1-878818-00-3
Hardcover - 65 pages - 978-1-878818-02-7
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The souls who inhabit the poems in Nystrom's debut collection are trapped by passivity, rarely venturing beyond their inert condition to satisfy desires burning deep within their hearts. But the poet is able to invest their renunciation with a noble significance. In ``Flagstop,'' the poet observes a woman in an apartment window and concludes that she ``thrivess on longing,'' choosing to receive ``no touch'' but the ``pressure of air / from the evening train's departure.'' Similarly, the speaker of these poems is more a vicarious observer than someone who experiences things first hand. Nystrom acknowledges the limitations of this kind of existence in the incisive ``Five-Thirty, Driving Home'': ``the light I see by is never/daylight, never the clarity / that signals the hawk's flight, / who views . . . the slightest movements beneath, / and seizes precisely what he needs.'' Her insights, uttered guardedly and quietly, are pk nonetheless keen. It's no surprise that Emily Dickinson, the ultimate inactive observer, is an inspiration to Nystrom. In ``Reading Late,'' the poet speculates that the ``deprivationplease check this. aa/your change is fine/pk by which Dickinson meant / to know, wholly, her desire . . . had / no object / but oblivion.'' (Apr.)
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