In Other Words

May Swenson, Author Alfred A. Knopf $16.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-394-56175-2
Swenson's gift for immediacy turns a familiar scene into an act of discovery: ""On wall-to-wall rugging the cars slouch by/ with headlights groping, windows blind/ the drivers invisible in the blizzard.'' In her first collection of poems since New and Selected Things Taking Place, she experiments with a variety of forms. In ``Banyan,'' a long fable in verse and prose, a cockatoo escapes from the town library and encamps with a monkey in a banyan tree, and the two debate the meaning of life. The poet concocts an entire poem out of spoonerisms (``A Nosty Fright''); parodies advertising (``The Digital Wonder Watch''); and records the excitement and tragedy of Cape Canaveral space launches (``Shuttles''). Swenson rises to fierce eloquence in tributes to Elizabeth Bishop and Leonard Baskin. The most memorable poems grow out of her precise, careful observation of nature, whether she is picking strawberries or eyeing a pale December sun. (September 29)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Paperback - 978-0-679-73356-0
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