cover image Homecoming: New and Collected Poems

Homecoming: New and Collected Poems

Julia Alvarez. Plume Books, $17 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-452-27567-6

Alvarez, author of the novels How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, adds to her 1984 collection of the same name. Limning her youthful experiences as a Dominican-American, the thoughtful, accessible poems in the section called Housekeeping draw upon childhood memories; in the new ""Folding My Clothes,"" she watches her mother ""fold/ the arms in and fold again where my back/ should go until she had made a small/ tight square of my chest."" Also new is the sequence of Redwing Sonnets, occupied with voice, authenticity and language. Thirteen new sonnets are added to the original number in the section called 33 to match Alvarez's current age. The early poems focus on failed relationships and the search for love (""Are we all ill with acute loneliness,/ chronic patients trying to recover/ the will to love?""). The new works look more outward, a fitting shift, the author notes in an afterword, for a poet who ""still yearns to make the world better with her pen."" (Apr.)