Divine Honors

Hilda Raz, Author Wesleyan University Press $26 (117p) ISBN 978-0-8195-2248-1
Raz, editor-in-chief of Prairie Schooner, has written three earlier books of poetry (The Bone Dish, 1989, etc.), but none is as deeply personal as this collection. Many of these poems refer explicitly or obliquely to her experience with breast cancer; others deal with domestic relationships and her struggle to make sense of--and, literally, to experience sense and sensuality--after her mastectomy. Sometimes, her verse grows thick with obscurity and seems to have been written only for herself or intimates. But her language can be incantatory, the images compelling, as in ""Petting the Scar: ""But the scar!/ Riverroad, meandering root, stretched coil, wire chord, embroidery in its hoop, mine, my body./ Oh, love!"" There are moments, too, when she attains an almost cruel clarity, as in ""Breast/fever"": ""My new breast is two months old,/ gel used in bicycle saddles/ for riders on long-distance runs,/ stays cold under my skin/ when the old breast is warm."" Raz brings intelligence and imagination to the task of understanding and expressing her own travail. Ultimately, she's not sorry for herself; she's interested in herself. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 117 pages - 978-0-8195-7213-4
Paperback - 117 pages - 978-0-8195-2249-8
Open Ebook - 104 pages - 978-0-585-37133-7
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