Eleanor Wilner, Author University of Chicago Press $35 (140p) ISBN 978-0-226-90029-2
Like many contemporary poets, Wilner ( Shekhinah ) constructs conceits from mythology and literary history in order to comment on modern history and contemporary life. While her references range from the suckling of Romulus and Remus to the work of Lacan, she is concerned with feminism, the fall of communism, the Palestinians, the war with Iraq, as well as with the uncertainty of the future. Too often the work loses focus, overburdened with material that seems tangential. In one stanza, the palace of the emperor of Japan leads the poet to consider the figure of King Lear and from there she moves on to the iconography of the pieta. Rather than enriching the work, the juxtaposition of these images distracts attention from a conceptional scheme. Though the language often contains echoes from the evocative cadences of the modernists (`` . . . Beware-- / you who traffic with the wet nurses / of history, those iron nipples / that acid drink, / pure and deadly''), it is not used with precision (``wet nurse'' is a startling choice of diction but the logic of the poem remains fuzzy). The poems are not driven by a formal tension that would make them interesting musically. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993
Release date: 10/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 140 pages - 978-0-226-90030-8
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