Confession

Susan Firestone Hahn, Author University of Chicago Press $15 (96p) ISBN 978-0-226-31274-3
While these free verse poems on such subjects as lovers sought and lost, female anatomy, medications and cosmetics align Hahn (Incontinence, 1993) with much of modernist women's poetry, her self-absorption and narrow focus become quickly tiresome. The sequence of sections of the title poem (Admission; Interrogation; Punishment; Truth) ends with one of her few excursions into metered verse: ""I love this claustrophobic box,/ the formality of its walls,/ the hidden arrangement, the simple judgement chair./ I do not need another's ear,/ just a pen and some paper."" Past lovers and regrets haunt these lines, whose abrupt line breaks serve to disrupt rather than intensify the reader's attention. The suggested guilt in the poem ""The Fifth Amendment"" leads to ""When They question me/ I do not lie. I do not say// your name out loud,/ it remains inside me like a gun,/ going off--the silencer on."" Recurring floral imagery somewhat balances the lack of growth in her relationships, but eventually even nature fails her: ""In the spring, I'll have to plant plastic/ flowers."" In the end, reiterated self-pity (""No man will come/ with a real bouquet"") kills our interest. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/17/1997
Release date: 03/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 96 pages - 978-0-226-31273-6
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