A Rosellen Brown Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose

Rosellen Brown, Author University Press of New England $35 (309p) ISBN 978-0-87451-575-6
Following her own ``first rule'' for writers--to ``steal from yourself relentlessly''--in this collection of poems, stories essays and one interview, Brown ( Tender Mercies ) practices the ``free movement across the borders of genres.'' A recurrent theme is the displacements and rootlessness of the author's early life, which led her as a writer to adopt the perspectives of diverse people, communities and heritages. Her characters do not inhabit the null space of much contemporary fiction, nor are they larger than life; they exist against the backdrop of history, however local. In ``Re: Femme '' a dying senator ghoulishly tries to gerrymander his wife's selection of a new lover; a woman's passion for the head of a refugee family forces her to confront herself in ``The International Language.'' As an unrepentant realist and enemy of abstraction, Brown worries that her prose will be ``unleavened,'' but reveals her origins as a poet in arresting images and tones. The cross-fertilization works less well with the poetry, which is sometimes too controlled, too pointed. The essays, which seem to be the heart of the book, both illuminate their subjects and yield new insights into Brown's literary genesis. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1992
Release date: 04/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 309 pages - 978-0-87451-645-6
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