Deborah Digges, Author . Knopf $23 (72p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4082-7

Digges's return to poetry after two successful memoirs showcases familiar strengths: supple, sometimes lengthy free verse lines whose fluent and heightened language bolsters familial and elegiac concerns. Much of the volume, indeed, concentrates on elegy: Digges casts herself as inheritor, beekeeper, even a mythological "Greeter of Souls": "Souls who have passed here, tired, brightening.... On which side of the river should I wait?" Digges teaches at Tufts University, outside Boston; though many poems traverse New England landscapes, some stray as far afield as the Arctic Circle or ancient China. Digges keeps one eye out, always, for symbols of loss, considering "the most mortal of all circles,/ mother to child and child to father"; some poems focus on deaths within her family, though others invoke more generally "the aftermath of youth,/ its strange enduring dust," alert to the omnipresent "ghost of what-had-been." Readers of Digges's earlier volumes (especially 1989's Late in the Millennium ) may find this fourth volume surprising in its tight focus on the personal, more like Louise Glück or Mary Oliver than like Marianne Moore or Amy Clampitt. This scaling back seems a conscious choice, and not a wrong one: those who have come to know Digges through her memoirs, Fugitive Spring (which considered her baby-boomer coming of age) and The Stardust Lounge (about her troubled son) will appreciate the strong emotions her articulate lyric uncovers to reveal. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Paperback - 72 pages - 978-0-375-71021-6
Open Ebook - 44 pages - 978-0-307-54821-4
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