Lyn Lifshin
March Street Press
ISBN 1-59661-1421

"it's like tuning into
distant stations. Or
an SOS alert, indelible
as lips or skin. Call
it ESP. If I didn't shudder,
your tango moving
toward me like a
brand, each place your
fingers touched,
indelible, a stain I
can't let fade"

Even the title is ambiguous. I suggest you do not "go into the night
lightly," Lifshin's poems dance us into/with a mad waltz, dipping and
the hesitation step the pauses ignite. Yes. I think of Bukowski, I also
think of Gertrude Stein and the women poets trying to partner, trying
to lead. But in actuality there is no one who writes like Lyn Lifshin.
Maybe a poet has written a few poems that have similar expressions
but there is no one who sustains, has the living focus or experiential
mood in varied effects within so many poems and each poem holds
the moment, provokes eternal, "…like a woman composing her self
like a licorice mare…" Our great grandchildren will be reading her
work. Lifshin parades her self in front of us and we can either accept
or sit on the side lines while she dances without apology:


they must imagine, I
mean even if they'll
never see what's
mysterious as the
mystical. Could
they not wonder
about that bracelet
of dark hair around
the bone. Or even
wonder about hair
around the other bone.
Even married to
Jesus wouldn't
they maybe even
dream what's under
some man's dark
jeans or cotton
as I can't help but
feel the outline
deep in tango,
so close bodies
move as one"

This book is a testament for and far more than any other woman
writer today she speaks, what we fantasize, think, how we feel,
especially, about freedom of expression without the vulgarities
of being specific:

"water pools in the
roses. My head's
under water in the
rouge blues. So
it's not raining
but it will be. This
blue Friday, a
roach I can't
escape without
a wall of them
burying me"

The first time I read Lyn's work, about five years ago, she sent a
packet of about fifty poems to the Wilderness House Literary Review,
as the poetry editor I was overwhelmed with her prolific writing, her
profound disregard for what anyone thought (?). I loved her poems
immediately. Even though I kept a tight boundary about submissions
and still do, I let Lifshin slid, knowing I might lose her if I didn't give
her free reign. There is no other way to read her work, be open and

allow yourself to be seduced:
"…Years from now,
when the hotel is plowed
and only pieces of stained
drift up when a child
digs in clay. Or maybe
a ruined couch frame.
Or the glass or even
buttons from the coat
of the man who became
more and more confused,
wandered thru others'
bedrooms, dazed in
the lobby will float
past the cash register
and the eerie voice of
the buck-toothed
screeching guest will
echo up from earth,
cut night like an
ambulance siren."

The reader will never regret buying this 286 page book of poems
with a full orchestra playing in the background, twirling you
through the night. Bravo

"about to leap, bite
the neck of her prey,
put everything she has
into him. She is wild to
paralyze him, keep
him as her slave.
Don't call her Jezebel
or Medea, don't
look at her with a
sneer. She's been
waiting. his body a
taunt, a lure. It's
nature, it's not fair.
And even if she has
to die soon after,
she will have him
on the sheets
of paper"

Irene Koronas
Poetry Editor:
Wilderness Literary Review
Ibbetson Street Press