Nutley Pond

By Lyn Lifshin
2008;84pp; Goose River Press, 3400 Friendship Road,
Wadoboro, ME 04572,$12.95 (P).

A very interesting development in Lifshin's whole aesthetic approach here. Very Greinke-like, she almost sounds like a poetry-centered Buddhistic specialist in the naturalistic sciences, capturing all the nuances and details in the away-from-all-cities world of Nutley Pond: "before the last/garnet maples slam// from antler branches/and the pond's an/onyx ribbon in white,//black ducks move closer/in thru lapis lazuli/past the apricot//.mirror of night,/quaking, clustering/as if lights on the//porch were bracelets of corn." ("Before Any Snow," p.71). For quite a long time Lifshin has been totally obsessed with horses, as if horses were a symbol of escape from the modern world, but here, now that she actually lives next to Nutley Pond, the escape is accomplished, and she becomes a gifted, priceless impressionistic recorder of this reality where she is at last at home. Based on the sequence of the four seasons, Lifshin here becomes the year-ologist, capturing year-change with unfailing fidelity: "The wind picks up/the day it's supposed/to rise into the/upper sixties...//You can measure light//by what's gone,/throwing corn past crushed berries,/the only light and the//bellies of geese/tipped to dive/for those/gold beads." ("April Fog," p. 30).

Review by Hugh Fox

Last updated: November 13, 2008