Leap Year Day: New and Selected Poems

Maxine Chernof, Author Another Chicago Press $9.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-929968-11-7
Chernoff ( New Faces of 1952 ) comments on the peculiar details of everyday existence using oddly humorous imagery to accentuate her perceptions of life's absurdity: ``Once on a train going backwards, I met a man too generous for his own good. To flatter me, he asked my age, and I, to prove him foolish, said, `Sir, I am a chair.' '' Many of these poems are in prose form and deal with different periods in the speaker's past. In ``Machinery,'' the narrator describes family outings to the airport to watch planes take off, other activities having been eliminated because of her father's fear of the unexpected: ``In a forest preserve, for instance, we once had seen a nude man sitting on a park bench. His pose was calm and alert, as if he were waiting for us to arrive.'' Some of the poems in this collection, however, are too outrageous, the surreal stream-of-consciousness imagery subverting both the poet's humor and the poems' meanings. Chernoff's vision is sometimes cloaked in a kind of indecipherable wordplay that keeps the reader at an alienating distance. Nevertheless, this is a collection full of insightful observations from a poet who delights in expressing common experiences in uncommon terms. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-1-893032-07-1
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