The God of Indeterminacy: Poems

Sandra McPherson, Author University of Illinois Press $14.95 (87p) ISBN 978-0-252-06271-1
McPherson ( Streamers ) turns to the American heartland as material for her 10th collection, and ably transforms the cliches of American rural and black folklore into original imagery. She establishes her concerns early on, juxtaposing the voices of women who make quilts with the voices of men who sing the blues. The men who mention their own names in their songs (``So that the vibrations of your sung name / are distinguished from anyone's / stone-cold name in the rain'') are contrasted with women whose endeavors are anonymous. Or, as a country preacher puts it: ``daughters and nieces / leaving home were saved in patchwork pieces.'' McPherson's attention to detail--the designs of the quilt squares (``tulips, thirty-one, / red, fawn-nectarine, / rimmed by a guardrail / as pink as medicine / in spoons''), the lonesome refrains of the blues--is so precise that, despite similar subject matter, the voice of each poem retains its individuality. But there is a third, entirely different commentator lending necessary emotional weight throughout this book: an exasperated woman whose children have failed her and who therefore feels she's failed herself, who wishes she can literally put her homeless daughter into the birdhouse. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1993
Release date: 02/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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