Refuge

Belle Waring, Author University of Pittsburgh Press $0 (73p) ISBN 978-0-8229-3655-8
Waring's poetic voice in this first collection is both startlingly original and reassuringly familiar. Using brassy, no-nonsense imagery, the poet jolts readers awake to the harsh realities of the souls inhabiting these poems, yet there is a compassion that speaks, without mawkishness, to our primordial need for shelter from the storms of life. Several poems deal quite affectingly with the subject of child abuse. Others treating her relationships with her friend Breeze and her lover Morley have a slangy, deadpan quality, giving the poet's perceptions of the pain of emotional loss a humorously hopeful slant. In ``Breeze Decides to Forgive Herself,'' she stands on a bridge contemplating suicide, and is rescued by a guardian angel: ``A cab pulls up, the driver says, Cold? and he cranks / the heat way up. All the way/home through the rankling / streets, Breeze hums for the hack in the dark.'' The poet's uncompromising yet comic way of seeing the world allows her to transcend even life's heaviest blows. As she states in ``Reprieve on the Stoop'': ``I'm not romantic, baby, but I do / know grace when I see it.'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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