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Howe's new poetry collection shines with the heightened clarity that often accompanies great loss. The language is conversational, but it's a conversation that keeps going after the mind is tired, with startling insights, hints of danger, and uncharacteristic wit. In "Reading Ovid," for example, the classical poet becomes "a guy who knows how to tell a story about people who/ really don't believe in the Golden Rule," leading the speaker/wife "to fantasize saying to the man I married, 'You know/ that hamburger you just/ gobbled down with relish and mustard? It was your truck.'/ If only to watch understanding take his face/ like the swan-god took the girl." Howe's remarkable poems help us to grasp the nature of narrative itself, as a ritual offering and a way to stop time, or at least to try. In one called "Why the Novel Is Necessary but Sometimes Hard To Read," the speaker describes a common reading experience: "you have to learn the names-you have to suffer not knowing anything about anyone/ and slowly come to understand who each of them is, or who each of them imagines themselves to be." Highly recommended for university and public libraries.-Sue Russell, Bryn Mawr, PACopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Posted February 27, 2013
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