Friday, March 04, 2011

Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life by Barbara Louise Ungar

Not everything recommends turns out to be a waste. These sharp, but simple poems convey all the passion and emotion a reader could want in a collection of verse. I had never heard of Ungar, but the title intrigued me, so I bought it. It is so very (too?) easy with one click shopping to indulge a passion – or an obsession – these days, but I am really glad I did.

Here’s my favorite:


Sky-blue beads’ pattern of heaven
and walking on wind—
who made them?

When I left home
and the great Plains behind,
I painted the floor of my narrow

room that very blue: I had
a futon, books and clothes,
three windows that opened on chains

into magnolia trees.
I lived in the sky.
I danced all night and out into the dawn.

It’s those cloud moccasins
I want, dancing the sky (52)

This poem, and almost all the rest of this collection, embodies everything I love in poetry I read and write: simple images, nice phrasing, a smooth, flowing rhythm, with a wonderful, unexpected closing image. Many even have a nice crisp edge to them. Ungar doesn't hold anything back. Anger sometimes peeks out of this collec tion about break-ups and divorce, but it never has a hint of self-pity. 5 stars

--Chiron, 3/4/11

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