The Barbie Poems

Review by Joyce Metzger

The Barbie Poems, Vol.1 plus
The Barbie Poems, Vol 2
LRB Series #47; 32pp;s/s; $5.00 and
LRB Series $48; 42pp/s/s; $5.00 by Lyn Lifshin
Lummox Press
POB 5301, San Pedro, CA 90733

Lyn Lifshin has more than 100 published books of poetry. She has won awards for her non-fiction and edited four anthologies of women's writing. Her poems have appeared internationally, in numerous literary and poetic magazines, and, she is the subject of an award winning documentary film, Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass. Lyn has been well known throughout the small press and university press world for years.

As observers, we might consider her body of work as a sequence of water drops covered by an oily sheen that creates a semi-concealed, but unique pattern. A Rorschach that will not adhere completely until this very talented poet has added that ever-absent period to indicate a finality to her thought-words.

Lifshin might be compared to the proverbial "corre camino"("it runs the road"). The roadrunner who can be serious, playful, fearless, bold, shy, caring, dispassionate, jaunty and curious as leg- thoughts careen around curves and corners.

"Barbie" became a household name across our nation, but it took Lyn Lifshin to breathe life, depth, diversity and emotion into Barbie's existence. From "leaflet in the street," to "lack of hormones, to Russian cloned Veronika, to phone sex, erotica, porn or Louis Braille, Barbie, according to lifshin, "feels her life is like a hotel," in Vol.1. Amen! Amen!

In Vol. 2, The Barbie Poems, Barbie "wants to see the world," and like S. Dali, "dreams of a torso giving birth," just before she "hangs out at Port Authority in her twirly teaser/mini and six batons." Barbie can "stalk clothes," or become "pissed she can't dance," as we continue to be mesmerized by the abrupt turning spurs of this agile writer's mind.

As the clever roadrunner, renamed, snake-eater, war bird and medicine bird that has evoked popular folklore myths, many contend, "they've seen a roadrunner build a cholla corral around a sleeping rattler," then, it will "drop a cactus pad on the snake so it will awaken threshing and impale itself on the ring of thorns."

Lifshin can be tenacious and aggressive as she encircles our minds with a commonsense approach to the real world while she draws on an endless store of memories and imaginings laced with feeling, class and style.

Experience Lyn's world as the ultimate insider reader. Lifshin skillfully invites us in, to capture images ranging from misty beaches to sun-dappled landscapes in her unique blending of warmth, femininity and style in this unabashed commitment to uninhibited creativity. Enjoy The Barbie Poems 1 & 2!

June 2005 Joyce Metzger