Forbidden Words: Poems

Patricia Traxler, Author University of Missouri Press $18.95 (54p) ISBN 978-0-8262-0934-4
The bitterness of loss flows through Traxler's ( The Glass Women ) third collection like a powerful astringent. Having lost her faith in love, the poet hones her rage into scalpel-sharpness, probing and excising a lifetime of hurt. The first lesson in disappointment was learned at the knee of an immigrant grandmother for whom ``the way to pain / Was joy, and ever after that the way / to pay for joy was pain.'' The writer's dramatic sense and the controlled elegance of her language ironically counterpose the poetry's intense emotional substratum. In ``High Wire'' she constructs a metaphor for the adrenalin-fraught anxiety of falling in love: ``And now I find myself here, balanced / on groundless terrain, sucked ever outward on the wire, / past return . . . I only learn / I'm falling when I've fallen and time has stopped / like a failed heart.'' ``Confession'' is a riveting monologue exposing the web of dependency that has ensnared a battered wife in a cycle of denial and abuse: ``I never told anyone, even my mother, / what he'd done because that would have given / my worst secret away: my life was a lie / and I was the liar; only a liar would stay.'' These poems strike a thrilling balance between personal disclosure and the rigors of writing. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 05/01/1994
Paperback - 54 pages - 978-0-8262-0935-1
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