Requeening: Poems

Ecco. Oct. 2021. 112p. ISBN 9780063096288. pap. $16.99. POETRY
In an essay about her battle with cancer and her daughter’s puberty, Moore says that she wants to balance her mother self with her writer self while respecting her daughter’s need for privacy. She achieves this delicate balance in this collection, a National Poetry Series winner, which covers similar territory. In these poems, Moore posits the metaphor of a beehive and the process of requeening the hive as a way to focus on the relationship between mother and daughter. Set mostly in the past, the collection’s plot line ranges from labor to birth and breastfeeding to childhood and adolescence, referencing the grandmother, the mother’s past, places she lived, items she possessed, her illness, and chemotherapy. Moore’s formal explorations include and sonnets, along with several haibun, a Japanese form developed by Basho (1644–1694). Moore’s haibun, which combine prose poetry with haiku, make up the penultimate (and best) section of the book. Pinpointing pivotal moments, Moore looks at the love and anger between mother and daughter, as well as the way the daughter replaces the mother as the one who brings new life into the family.
VERDICT These highly descriptive poems evoke a dreamlike state, one that is quick-moving and evocative, temporarily erasing actual and imagined boundaries.
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