Introduction by Olga Broumas Winner of the 1990 Barnard New Women Poets Prize
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThis collection gives new breadth and meaning to the familiar cliche of its title. Newcomer Barresi's all-inclusive, unadulterated vision embraces popular culture, personal experience and historical events. Her poems are a subtle chronicle of American life and its immigrant underpinnings over the past several decades, from the 1950s, ``the refrigerator . . . so turquoise it hurts,'' through the ``smug, bankable eighties.'' The characters who populate these poems range from a young car salesman in ``eel-skin cowboy boots'' to a Mexican mother ``dangling a child by his ankles, headfirst / into the garbage dumpster . . . '' as the poet sets out to explore the ``work of this world.'' It's easy to get caught up in Barresi's energetic rush of language and to accept as wildly inventive her often unlikely metaphors and rash imaginative leaps. While the result is, for the most part, compelling and convincing, this unrestrained impulse leads too frequently to imprecise imagery and sweeping philosophical pronouncements that awkwardly state the obvious (``What we do to stay alive / is different from what we are''). Broumas is the author of Pastoral Jazz. (Apr.)
Library JournalBarresi, winner of the 1990 Barnard New Women Poets Prize, writes poems that have snap, crackle, and pop, with just the right amount of poetic mystery. Child of the suburban Fifties, Barresi writes tough yet elegiac poems that explore her family mythos, with domestic dramas enacted in the glow of the TV screen, ``where particles charge and involve us/ and we are kissed awake/ from one native sorrow to another's.'' Barresi's poetry has wit and pathos: ``Tonight I'm listening to the rain as it hangs/ in the pawnshop of those brief trees/ asking for everything.'' Her metaphors are a delight: ``a spider walks on its eight legs forward--/ tiny unlit chandelier.'' In all, an impressive debut from a poet worth watching. Recommended for poetry collections.-- Christine Stenstrom, New York Law Sch. Lib.
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