Dead, Dinner, or Naked


Evan Zimroth's erotic, intense poems are rooted in history, myth, and everyday life. Her strong, singular voice makes us look where we might not have looked, see what we might have missed, face what we would avoid. She makes us think in surprising ways.

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Evan Zimroth's erotic, intense poems are rooted in history, myth, and everyday life. Her strong, singular voice makes us look where we might not have looked, see what we might have missed, face what we would avoid. She makes us think in surprising ways.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The concept of this volume is intriguing: middle-aged eroticism. A woman who considers herself to be middle-aged listens to her aging, sleeping husband gasping for breath and remembers listening similarly beside her infant's crib. At 40, she permits cups of coffee with a strange man to substitute for clandestine sexual encounters; she ``used to think / that any man who beckoned / I would follow, but now I know / I'm more ambivalent. You might say, / more scared.'' But Zimroth's ( Giselle Considers Her Future ) conception far outshines her poetic abilities, and too often whole poems seem trite, such as one about talking to a man while ``each part of my body turns to verb.'' Secondary themes--life in New York City, the adult returning to childhood haunts, the Holocaust and variations on biblical stories--fare no better. Even a four-page poem about the death of a child fails to be moving. In the book's final pages there is an undercurrent of irony, a sense that the poet has chosen hackneyed imagery to create a purposeful tongue-in-cheek stance, but if this is the case, she lacks the language skills to bring it off successfully. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Evan Zimroth's poetry is full of a dark shimmer, the menace of intensity, a toughness of vision that combines with an edgy grace a deeply instinctual femaleness and a deep intelligence." —Mary Gordon

"I love the combination of smartness, pain, and what one might call conscious postmodern trashiness in this book: a version of the erotic full of nervous tension which animates the sensuality, and also Zimroth's feeling for words, compressed, ironic, withholding, but also 'asking for it . . . the siege, the thrill, the battle fatigue.' A profoundly urban book, of harsh memory and fantasy, set in harsher reality."

—Alicia Ostriker

"Dead, Dinner, or Naked is remarkable and wrenching in its juxtaposition of the peace and tenderness of daily domesticity, with an anxious apprehension of sudden disaster. In language that is always striking and often humorous, Evan Zimroth explores the intricacies of love and passion between adults ruefully aware of their limitations. It's very provacative poetry, offering jolts of insight along with moments of almost unbearable poignancy."

—Lisa Alther

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780916384104
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 2/18/1993
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 73
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Evan Zimroth is a poet, novelist, and professor of Jewish Studies at CUNY Queens College.

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Table of Contents

Cafe 13
Unfinished Portraits 14
Morning Coffee on Isle la Motte 17
The Faith-Healer 19
Do You Take 20
Mahogany 22
St.-Germain-des-Pres 24
Each Summer 26
What He Knew 27
Another Trashy Aubade 31
Ode After Nelly Sachs: For Some Women Who Died 32
Planting Children: 1939 34
On Hearing That Childbirth Is Like Orgasm 35
Breathing 36
Lilly's Song 37
The Idea of Roads at Gondreville-la-Franche 38
Nervus Erotis 39
Talk, You 40
Postcard from Idyllic Isle la Motte 41
In Heat 42
Dark and Nameless 43
She Wakes Up 44
Playground 45
Dead, Dinner, or Naked 49
Wintering 52
Square Laurent Prache 53
City Blizzard 55
Just Another Love Affair 56
The Park, at Midnight 57
Scripture 59
Alone, Without an Angel 60
Burn 62
Telling Her 66
Front Porch 68
Notes 73
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