review by Doug Holder
I remember interviewing Lyn Lifshin at a little bistro in the North End of Boston some years ago. Lifshins verbal output is as prolific as her poetry, and she is full of insights, and anecdotes from a rich writing life. And what is amazing about Lifshin is that in spite of her enormous productivity, the quality of her work rarely suffers.
In her latest collection: PERSEPHONE, Lifshin uses the mythic character of Persephone, who was abducted by Hades, and kept in the underworld until her mother Demeter rescued her. Like Persephone Lifshin s collection takes us from the darkness of despair to the light of love.
If you know me you know that I have softness for food poems. Ive used food, such as a hotdog, to zero in on a dying uncle, or chicken fat to connect with my long deceased grandmother. Lifshin uses asparagus to evoke the last days of her terminally ill mother:
When I see the early green. Im flung
I just love the green, she said.
And as only Lifshin can do so well, she uses her hair ( which she is generously endowed with) in the poem The Photographs with My Hair Up as a symbol of freedom and constriction:
I wanted my hair
Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update
reviewed Friday, December 12, 2008