That Said: New and Selected Poems

Jane Shore. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22 (288p) ISBN 978-0-547-68711-7
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In Shore’s first retrospective collection, fortunes and fairy tales converge with real experiences—a daughter growing up, a mother’s death, an aging father, a young classmate killed in an accident—juxtaposing life as imagined against life as it turns out: “It didn’t weep the way a willow should,” the book begins, “Planted all alone in the middle of the field/ by the bachelor who sold our house to us.” Shore reflects on the passage of time—complete with Chinese take-out, Scrabble, and dolls of all kinds (American Girl and otherwise)—through poised ruminations on selfhood. In “The Russian Doll,” Shore writes, “I thought the first, the largest, doll/ contained nothing but herself,/ but I was wrong./ I assumed that she was young/ because I could not read her face./ Is she the oldest in this matriarchy—/ holding within her hollow each daughter’s/ daughter? Or the youngest—// carrying the embryo of the old woman/ she will become?” And at their best, these poems are deliberate, curious, and as unassuming as Bishop’s. Shore does what the best memoirists attempt: in describing one life, she describes the condition of all lives. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2012
Release date: 04/24/2012
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-547-68735-3
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