cover image Guests


Teresa Cader. Ohio State University Press, $17.95 (65pp) ISBN 978-0-8142-0558-7

Cader's title refers to the ghosts that populate almost every poem in this superior first collection. Searching for the nature of her identity--as a woman, lover, daughter and artist--the poet delves into the lives of family, friends, even strangers and, in the process, is able to see her own life as part of a continuum of meaning. Cader returns to her Central European origins, imagining what life was like for parents and grandparents fleeing the horror of war. The poet takes on her father's grief in ``Return,'' which describes how he ``cried into his hat'' as the family left for America, and in ``Ice Fishing,'' which details a fishing expedition during which his grandfather was killed by German gunfire. Cader also deals with the ghosts of old lovers in an attempt to make ``peace / among the litter and decay.'' The masterwork of this volume, ``At the Trenton State Hospital,'' examines the primordial longing for mother's love. The speaker of the poem calmly directs a game of bingo for a group of mental patients until one woman instigates a riot by standing on a table ``shouting Mother! Mommy! like a child suddenly lost / on a familiar street, pointing at me and shouting / Mother!'' (Nov.)