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Crack in Everything
     

Crack in Everything

by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
 
• Finalist for the 1996 National Book Award • Winner of the 1996 Poetry Center Book Award • Winner of the 1997 Patterson Poetry Prize This book is full of acceptance--not an enervated giving up, but a commitment to the way things are."--New York Times Book ReviewOstriker slips us into the cave of her own vision and strikes a match, and that world, its

Overview

• Finalist for the 1996 National Book Award • Winner of the 1996 Poetry Center Book Award • Winner of the 1997 Patterson Poetry Prize This book is full of acceptance--not an enervated giving up, but a commitment to the way things are."--New York Times Book ReviewOstriker slips us into the cave of her own vision and strikes a match, and that world, its deep shadows and clear places, is illuminated by a high, bright flame."--Southern Poetry Review Summer 98

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ostriker has long been admired as both a feminist literary critic and a poet. The accomplished poems in her expansive eighth collection are grounded in the details of a woman's daily life and speak with the appeal of an intelligent, sympathetic friend. A broad-based politics enters this work routinely, like the morning news. Sensitive persona poems move the speaker into the realm of foreign wars, the bombing of MOVE in Philadelphia and the rape of a mentally retarded girl by her high-school classmates. Ostriker's poetics claim, as in "The Class," "To gather pain into language, to promise/ The critics are wrong, the other professors are wrong/ Who describe an art divisible from dirt,/ From rotten life." Yet these poems insist on life's essential goodness and passionate joy: "At the intersection of poverty and pestilence/ The planet's children, brave as hell, juiced/ Out of their gourds, invent the sacred dance." Within her generous vision of human imperfection, Ostriker confronts middle age and mortality with deft touch and wry humor, so that by the time we reach "The Mastectomy Poems"-whose observations cut as clean and sharp as the surgeon's scalpel-we are already immersed in her sensibility that "tragedy/ Is a sort of surrender." (May)
Library Journal
It is the fickle word that concerns Ostriker in this, her eighth bookbut this time with the twist provided by hard new experience. "What the eye instantly consents to," as the problem is wittily framed, "Language stumbles after/ like some rejected/ Clumsy perpetual lover, Language/ Encouraging himself." Never mind that such recognition can claim the origin all poetizingall species of writer's block as wellOstriker is not afraid to call them as she sees. Many of these poems, especially those at the close of the book, convey the experience of mastectomy in a frank and liberating clarity but always with the riddle of an illness underneath. Even in the description of perfectly fine zinnias on a daughter's kitchen table, one can't help but get a sense of cancer's context: "their very cells break down, their membranes crushed/ Where the condemned/ Beg for forgetfulness/ Where the guards/ Revel in brutality." Recommended for poetry collections.Steven R. Ellis, Pennsylvania State Univ. Libs., University Park
Patricia Monaghan
Ostriker, a fine feminist critic as well as a distinguished poet, writes with calm authority and almost rocklike solidity. Although hers is a public voice of great clarity, her poems also possess a quality of being overheard, and reading them can seem like finding an especially lyrical journal or chancing upon a great opera singer practicing in the shower. Nowhere is the push-pull of public and private voices more moving than in the long sequence, "The Mastectomy Poems," in which the poet muses upon her cancer and the successful treatments for it. In this sequence, Ostriker's impressive craft rises to meet a demanding subject so fully that these poems stand among the classics of the poem-sequence genre. Other treasures are here as well, affording more of the pleasure of hearing a poet singing at the top of her form.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822939368
Publisher:
University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date:
03/01/1996
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

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