Friday, November 7, 2008

Shadow People:Poems by Molly Lynn Watt Reviewed by Hugh Fox

Watt is a kind of a flesh-and-blood monument in the boston area, totally involved with the poetic life there, but she reads like some kind of young world-traveller soaked in world literature, concentrating especially on the ephemeralness of human existence. As in this Memoriam poem titled simply Margie (1916-1999): It is always spring where she sits in her chair/under Monet's blue sky and fields of tulips/Her fragile body bends over nail clippers.../shaking/both hands shaking... (p.25)

Unexpected poems here about the Yup'ik People in Alaska, the Mendenhall Glacier and the Tlinqit First People (again in Alaska), Central Park in NYC during the winter, streetlife in Boston-Cambridge, everything always with a sense of transience, everything evaporating, vanishing away, even when she writes about the year she was born, 1938: That bloody year when I was born.../Nazis carried out pogroms against the jewish born.../Storm trropers smashed synagogues and shops and homes/ Time named Hitler Man of the Year... (1938, p. 11) 

At the same time she's lamenting the shortness of life, swirling in memories of lost time, she preaches deliciously Debussyan delicate sermons on grasping the Here and Now:... Wear a crown of daisies/Build a fire on sand.../Listen to the peepers/ Wait for fireflies in the meadow. (Abandon Your Shoes, p. 51)

A living classic.

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