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Sustenance: New and Selected Poems

Sustenance: New and Selected Poems

by Sheila Bender, Shelia Bender

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A second collection of verse by Bender (The Writer's Journal: 40 Contemporary Authors and Their Journals, 1997), who seems intent on proving that less can, indeed, be less. It should be stated at the outset that Bender is a good writer, as most all of the poems in this collection demonstrate. She seems able to regulate the rhythms of her lines easily and with a steady precision, has a decent command of simile ("The hours in intensive care you will watch / clouds sheet the sky like hospital linen / and hear the chirp of heart monitors like crickets") and relies on a refreshingly conventional imagery ("Ambulances in Harvard Square, young girl / hugging her guy, old green sedan / hitched to a tow truck, crowd gathered thick as the one last night for street musicians") that serves her old-fashioned brand of naturalism quite nicely. But unfortunately all of this is employed in the service of works whose inherent triteness can be inferred from their very titles—"Watching My Husband Meet His Birth Mother," "While Buying a Birthday Card for My Son Who's Just Gone to College," "At the Ethnic Cemeteries, Roslyn, Washington, After a Day as Poet-in-Residence"—and amply demonstrated with a few lines ("Beyond the beach's white thighs and the waves' / swell of desire, there was moonlight on calm water"). There's an earnest directness in Bender's attempt to poeticize daily life, but for the most part her world remains as mundane at the finish as it was at the start.

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Daniel, John & Company, Publishers
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Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.23(d)

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