Waiting for the Light

Alicia Suskin Ostriker. Univ. of Pittsburgh, $15.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-8229-6452-0
“Do you agree that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice// Why would you think that,” asks Ostriker (The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog) in an eerily prophetic moment toward the end of a collection in which she explores politics and people with her characteristic complexity and curiosity. The book is divided into four sections, the first two of which explore the vibrant microcosm of New York as depicted through a series of vignettes. In one, she describes a father whose son is killed in a traffic accident, and in the other she recalls a conversation with a Bangladeshi cab driver who “sighs a long, elegiac sigh,/ like a man who secretly knows how soon/ the world will be under water/ but does not wish to discuss it.” In one of the collection’s several ghazals, Ostriker skillfully unpacks the multiple meanings and associations of the word “America”: “I said One Nation Invisible until corrected/ maybe I was right about America.” Ostriker keeps a record of violence, inequality, and despair in the world, yet through it all finds refuge in a world of hope in which “you put on peace every day/ like pulling on a pair of pants.” (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 05/08/2017
Release date: 02/01/2017
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