Woman Without Umbrella

Victoria Redel, Author
Victoria Redel. Four Way (UPNE, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-935536-24-6
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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Winning and elegant at its best, unified and honest throughout, this third collection from Redel (Swoon) follows the poet and a brace of her characters through romantic and familial episodes, from youth to late middle age, from moments when everything seems new to “babies grown, gone from home,” “death/ of an old school friend.” A beautifully unguarded poem entitled “Today, We’re This World’s Darling” concludes by praising (without divulging) “Those gorgeous, scandalous/ tender words you say to me each morning.” Redel is also a novelist, and often her poems (most no more than a page) try to reconcile the impulse to tell stories with the lyric drive to refine and strip down: her language may not sparkle on its own, but situations give it life. Some of her best works are prose poems. In one, a grandfather shoots a favorite donkey out of spite; in another, girls make prank distress calls from a pay phone, “dialing up another random number to make them listen to us again.” (Oct.)
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