The Ripening Light: Selected Poems, 1977-1987

Lucile Adler, Author, Frederick Turner, Foreword by Peregrine Smith Books $10.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87905-331-4
Relying heavily on the landscape of the American Southwest for their narrative context and fecund imagery, these fine poems reflect a struggle to perceive the world realistically, without sacrificing either compassion or hopefulness. Adler ( The Society of Anna ) wishes to focus on that which transcends the ordinary (``a radiant spirit on the road alone / among many, shining out to sustain you'') as symbolizing justice--to her mind, a more honest ideal than redemption in a world such as ours. Evocative of the mythic or archetypal, in theme and tone, these mainly contemporary narratives balance a generous empathy with a sense of foreboding, sprung from a stoicism that accommodates the ability to acknowledge both beauty and its bleak prospects for survival: ``Once I saw a flock of geese cross paths / With a jet plane. White bloody / Carcasses, red feathers, steel and flesh / Falling on this valley.'' Despite Adler's attention to the difficult or painful, her insistent sense of fairness (``After all, I only want to say: Wrong's wrong'') allows her to bypass the maudlin and sentimental. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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