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Copper Canyon. Nov. 2023. 112p. ISBN 9781556596735. pap. $17. POETRY
In her seventies, Miller (Who Is Trixie the Trasher? and Other Questions) writes what may be her swan song in this, her excellent thirteenth book. These poems often look at death—her own or her loved ones—from a distance and up close. Her style is evocative and emerges from short lines, repetition, enjambment, run-on sentences, parenthetical expressions, powerful images, and exactly right endings. She is a master of the ending whose implications make one want to read the poem again. This collection holds together topics ranging from Virginia Woolf and Osip Mandelstam, to apricot trees and love, to religion, Hamlet, and loss. The best poem here is “Elegy with Last Lines in the Form of a Haiku,” in which Miller speaks of dying and compares it to a “Moonbeam on the bay” shining as a woman “slips silently into/ a satin nightgown.” Most of her poems are haiku-like and have vivid connotative imagery. Once a painter, Miller is attracted to painterly metaphors, and readers can see that in this collection as she elegantly fuses descriptions of nature with reflections on her feelings.
VERDICT Miller is able to go inside her subjects and draw readers with her. That experience makes this collection one for all libraries.
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