The Pilgrim Among Us

Roberta Spear, Author Wesleyan University Press $13.95 (70p) ISBN 978-0-8195-1200-0
Spear ( Taking to Water ) writes about significant incidents in her life, past and present, interspersing her perceptions with tidbits of cryptic analysis. In a Valentine's poem about a departed loved one, she writes: ``The light makes it clear / who is with us and who has gone. / In my palm, its lacy edges / fill with darkness, with a message / that touches the sky / . . . you are gone.'' The poet alienates readers with imprecise images and metaphors that ineffectively mix the abstract and the concrete. In a four-part poem about the ephemerality of existence, for example, Spear includes an episode about a bakery, whose ``old wooden barrel'' is filled with ``granules infinite and white, / as though the cosmos had disrobed / in private for the baker.'' To make matters worse, she refers to powdered donuts as ``the sudden / rainbows of Creation,'' followed by the question, ``Dust to dust?'' The poet's more straightforward descriptions of events from her childhood and of her relationships, especially those about her young son, are suitably touching, but leave the reader begging for deeper insight. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Hardcover - 70 pages - 978-0-8195-2198-9
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