The Book of Winter

Sue Owen, Author Ohio State University Press $6.95 (61p) ISBN 978-0-8142-0475-7
Owen ( Nursery Rhymes for the Dead ) is a romantic enthralled by death and the power of words to explore it, to press to its edge. She writes ``thick with a cold / that grips'' and of ``Nothing now, but the darkness.'' To her credit, though, Owen is not seduced by death, as are some romantics: she rules delicately yet firmly over a landscape of shadows, blood and breath. Her achievement, like winter's here, reveals powerful restraint, perhaps because death, likened to winter, commands a fierce but philosophical response: ``I wanted to reach like the sun / into words and be / a night for their sleep,'' Owen recounts, and yet ``when I died, the words / I became would become / the skeletons of my breath.'' Words as precisely honed and clear as these should indeed provide some measure of salvation, for ``language never dies'' even if ``In the life that comes, / this darkness stays.'' (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1989
Release date: 02/01/1989
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