DAYS OF WONDER: New and Selected Poems

Grace Schulman, Author . Houghton Mifflin $25 (208p) ISBN 978-0-618-08623-8

Distinguished professor of English at the City University of New York, poetry editor of the Nation, a former director of New York's famed 92nd Street Y Poetry Center and author of four previous books—from 1976's Burning Down the Icons to Paintings of Our Lives, released earlier this year—Schulman has been a highly visible advocate for poetry. In a characteristic Schulman poem, large, difficult questions resonate in the small, singular moments of appreciation: a lover's late discovery of apples, "iron fences/ handwrought with lyres, Greek frets, acanthus leaves," or even "the Life Insurance Company's golden/ pyramid that strews gold dust on black hair." There are allusions to canonical painters and canonical poems, and a variety of religious references, which engender equal portions of reverence and lament. Many of the poems' small pleasures are found amid sometimes difficult, sometimes serene backdrops: "Downtown, in my brick aerie, the late sun/ stripes a bare wall saffron, orange, and brown;/ Bach on CDs, my love and I look down/ from small but lustrous rooms, our residence." The appearance of this book so soon after Paintings, which is generously excerpted here (23 poems) and which is set to be reprinted in paperback February 12, is thus puzzling, since this volume, which includes 10 new poems, is certain to quickly supercede it. Yet Schulman's well-crafted lyrics are well-packaged here, and their joyous descriptions and welcoming aspect should please the curious and converted alike. As one new poem puts it, "pitched forward to hear the whirlwind's reply,/ she shook a fist, then opened hands in praise." (Feb. 16)

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 02/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-547-56153-0
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-618-34082-8
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