Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Poems by Lyn Lifshin.
( Black Sparrow Press David R. Godine, Publisher. PO BOX 450 Jaffrey,
( http://www.blacksparrowbooks.com/ ) $19.
Lifshin's Latest Triumph!
The title of Lyn Lifshin's latest book is intriguing. The signature poem
in this collection, of the same title, led me to wonder, who is "The
Other Woman" in these poems? Is she different segments of one life?
The Inner and the Outer lives in juxtaposition? What struck me was the
use of the third person singular in that poem, as if she sees herself
from an out-of-body vantage point. The great appeal of Lyn's poetry, that
she is dangerously honest and candid, yet passionate and compassionate,
yet never invoking the mawkish or cloyingly sentimental in the range of
her subjects. As I read these poems, I was overpowered by the implied
grief of The Survivor, yet there is a lack of mawkish sentimentality or
easy pathos, even in depictions of grief and/or love-hate relationships.
This book is a Must Read for all Lifshin fans.
John Birkbeck (firstname.lastname@example.org),
a television producer in Iowa City
September 9, 2006
Another review by John Birkbeck:
ANOTHER WOMAN WHO LOOKS LIKE ME
Black Sparrow Press, 2006
ISBN 13 : 9781 - 57423 - 198 - 4
221 pp. $18.95
Who Is The Other Woman?
a review by John Birkbeck
Lifshin has perfected her craft in this latest collection of poems.
Although her words seem plain and to the point, there is a wealth of the
unstated. She evokes images and ideas in terse, uncomplicated language.
Each word does the work of twenty.
The title of Lifshins book is intriguing. The signature poem in
collection, of the same title, led me to wonder, who is The Other
these poems? The use of the third person singular in this one poem, is
if she sees herself from an out-of-body vantage point.
In most of the other poems in this collection, written in the first
person, we see a more subjective and inner vantage point. We are inside
the head of the Other Woman. The Other Woman is the poet herself,
exploring her appearance as others see her and how she sees herself.
In the section dealing with the death of her mother, I was tempted to
see The Other Woman in the mother.
Her short lines and minimal use of punctuation, and sometimes leaving
out a word, allows the reader's own imagination to fill in the blanks--
which are not really blanks, but blind spots which mind and eye cannot
to pick up.
the great appeal of Lyns poetry, that she is dangerously honest
candid, yet passionate and compassionate, yet never invoking the mawkish
cloyingly sentimental in the range of her subjects.
These poems cover an emotional landscape that ranges from the innocence
New England childhood, the excesses of love and the horrors of the Nazi
deathcamps. And between times, she can be uproariously funny as well.
Lyn Lifshin is a realistic romantic, tough but tender, giving no quarter
asking any, but facing life and love and loss as it is and not as it might,
or should be.
September 10, 2007