The Anti-Grief

Copper Canyon. Oct. 2019. 96p. ISBN 9781556595684. pap. $17. POETRY
In her tenth collection (after Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing), Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award winner Boruch offers a ready intelligence, deep aesthetic sense, and wordsmith’s ability to compose poems rich with layers of meaning. Like all good poets, she has a unique way of looking at the world (“The child, the miniature/ old person waiting in her, was worry”). Her subjects range from the famous (e.g., Amelia Earhart) to life’s transitory nature (“Did I tell you? my grandfather sings from the grave”) to interspecies communication (“The whale might, she might vaguely recognize/ human cries of those drowning// as some distant tribe of fin/ and blowhole”). In poems inspired by art, Boruch often exhibits a strikingly modern sensibility. For instance, “In Durer’s Engraving,” the speaker wonders, “Still Adam looks at her—/ curious or just wary, was love/ invented yet?”
VERDICT Throughout, Boruch easily folds storytelling into her poems and makes deep emotional connections, as when Dorothy Wordsworth’s life segues into that of the poet’s grandmother. Repetition is occasionally overused, and the poet loses focus in the long poem “Keats Is Coughing,” which compares visits to Rome and Alaska, but overall this is a collection not to be missed.
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