Mary Kinzie, Author . Knopf $23 (96p) ISBN 978-0-375-41463-3

Depression, anxiety, motherhood and the passage of time mark this sixth collection from Kinzie, who continues to explore highly personal, internal themes, intermixing short lyrics with more formally innovative, discursive meditations. In the first of four sections, Kinzie focuses on the material presence of time, weather and ambient sound, wishing, with humor and characteristically suspended syntax, that "the world/ could latch on to the/ cables of bast or plastic/ the bowlines guys snotters/ vangs halyards/ the hawsers on their sheaves smoking/ whomp lashing kuh CHING / ringing out chimmee. " The second section comprises a formally heterogeneous, moody sequence called "The Book of Tears," which swings from romantic elation ("...we gaze and gaze/ at this dappling joyshow/ stretched out to the cisterns of purple/ shadow...") to dispirited boredom and ennui ("how wearisome always/ to have to be/ doing something..."). The most problematic section of the book, however, is the third: a long pseudo-narrative that imagines the thoughts of young men outside of a "rough jazz club" in 1950s Chicago. In an exoticizing and presumptuous meditation, the speaker ascribes to these men—these "dark faces" in a car, these "creatures/ who became themselves / only at night"—a shockingly stereotypical set of circumstances: "Were they fathers too/ were their children roaming/ through the alleys falling/ into harm/ scarred/ by desolation// Did they even know / their fathers...." The book recovers a bit of lost ground in a final section, which consists mainly of longer, free-verse poems—including a partial retelling of the Cinderella story and a meditation on psychotropic drugs ranging from Zoloft to Ativan—that use rhyme to fresh effect. (Feb. 18)

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 02/01/2003
Paperback - 76 pages - 978-0-375-70990-6
Open Ebook - 70 pages - 978-0-307-52216-0
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