In this selection of poems from thirty years of a distinguished writing career, we see the growth of a poet’s mind, heart, and spirit as Ostriker struggles to love “this wounded / World that we cannot heal, that is our bride.” Whether she probes the meaning of childhood, family, marriage, and motherhood, or art, history, politics, and God; whether she is celebrating sexuality or confronting mortality, the poet includes “whatever I can grasp of human experience within my art—the good and beautiful, the evil and chaotic. I tell my students that they must write what they are afraid to write; and I attempt to do so myself.”
About the Author
Alicia Suskin Ostriker is one of America’s premier visionary poets and critics. She is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including The Book of Seventy; The Mother/Child Papers; No Heaven; the volcano sequence; as well as several books on the Bible. She has received the Paterson Poetry Prize, the William Carlos Williams Award, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award. Ostriker is Professor Emerita of English at Rutgers University and teaches in the low-residency MFA program of Drew University.
Table of ContentsContents Early Poems (1968–1974) The Anniversary Excerpts from Once More Out of Darkness Wrinkly Lady Dancer A Dream of Springtime (1979) Becky and Benny in Far Rockaway Sonnet. To Tell the Truth Annie, Aphrodite, and the Elevator Portraite de l’Artiste Portrait of a Man The Fool Stands Up to Teach King Lear Again The Mother/Child Papers (1980) Cambodia Excerpts from “Mother/Child” Mother/Child: Coda Excerpt from “Propaganda Poem: Maybe for Some Young Mamas” The Leaf Pile The Change In the Dust His Speed and Strength A Woman Under the Surface (1982) The Waiting Room After the Shipwreck The Crazy Lady Speaking The Exchange The History of America Dream: The Disclosure Homecoming The Impulse of Singing Excerpt from “Message from the Sleeper at Hell’s Mouth” The Runner A Minor Van Gogh (He Speaks): Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge The Singing School The Imaginary Lover (1986) Cows Horses Staring at the Pacific, and Swimming in It Three Men Walking, Three Brown Silhouettes Mother in Airport Parking Lot The Marriage Nocturne Surviving Meeting the Dead Listen A Question of Time Years I Brood About Some Concepts, for Example Taking the Shuttle with Franz Everywoman Her Own Theology Poem Beginning with a Line by Fitzgerald/Hemingway The War of Men and Women A Clearing by a Stream Letting the Doves Out Green Age (1989) Fifty A Young Woman, a Tree Helium George in Hospital Excerpts from “A Birthday Suite” Stream The Pure Products of America Windshield The Bride The Death Ghazals A Meditation in Seven Days Excerpts from “Homage to Rumi” To Love Is Move The Crack in Everything (1996) The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz Boil Marie at Tea Migrant Globule Nude Descending The Studio (Homage to Alice Neel) Appearance and Reality The Boys, the Broomhandle, the Retarded Girl The Eighth and Thirteenth Saturday Night The Book of Life Middle-Aged Woman at a Pond The Nature of Beauty The Class Locker Room Conversation Jonah’s Gourd Vine Still Life: A Glassful of Zinnias on My Daughter’s Kitchen Table Excerpts from “The Mastectomy Poems” Uncollected and New Poems (1980–1998) April One From the Prado Rotunda: The Family of Charles IV, and Others A Chinese Fan Painting O’Keeffe Anselm Kiefer Holocaust Diaspora Millennial Polka About Time Acknowledgments