The Silence Now: New and Uncollected Earlier Poems

May Sarton, Author W. W. Norton & Company $14.95 (79p) ISBN 978-0-393-02651-1
Sarton is now in her mid-70s, and the title of her luminous new verse collection alludes to its underlying theme: old age. It's a time when she has ``more of everything to care for, to maintain.'' Her powers of observation have deepened: a cat's footfall on the stairs ``speaks of an eternal Now.'' In beautifully simple language shorn of all artifice, she speaks directly and with wisdom about grief, loneliness, death, coming to terms with one's life. There are a few topical poems, such as her inspirational hymn on the AIDS crisis and a sociological piece about the impact of the feminist movement on macho attitudes. This is Sarton's first volume of poetry since Selected Poems (1978). The clear-as-crystal diction of the recent works contrasts sharply with the 19 previously uncollected, much earlier lyrics that employ the tropes of traditional verse (falcons, lutes, towers, kingdoms). Notable among the latter group is a sonnet sequence in which love and poetry are responses to the poet's fear and trembling before God. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Paperback - 80 pages - 978-0-393-30635-4
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