From Publishers Weekly
Beaumont (Placebo Effects
) co-edited The Poets' Grimm
, an anthology of modern poems based on fairy tales, and a vivid fairy tale sensibility pervades her most original work in this second collection, complete with wolves, frog princes and modern-day Cinderellas. Some poems depend on tour-de-force conceits: one shows what rocks would say if they had their own language (the rock's speech begins "I only dance when I'm thrown"), while another gives ingenuous excerpts "From the Book of the Boot." Nineteenth-century Europe (from the Napoleonic wars to the rise of the parasol and the heyday of absinthe) makes another inspiration for Beaumont's glittery works, whose contemporary analogues range from Brenda Hillman to James Tate, mixing extended analogies with teasing non sequiturs: "If it weren't so sunny in this room/ we'd worry about the economy." Beaumont's self-portraits are likewise enticingly diverse: in "Regime" her contemporary speaker is a Baroque ruler in an oil painting; in "Circa 1812" "I'm in my early life as a fly, and I skim from table to/ table in search of the best gossip, best jam." Hanging over it all, and saving it from frivolity, is an air of persistent unhappiness: Beaumont's smorgasbord of techniques and scenes depicts a world "where the poor dog must sing for his supper/ on national television," and where "We are only as happy as our last dream."
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About the Author
Jeanne Marie Beaumont earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University. Her first book, Placebo Effects, was selected by William Matthews as a winner in the 1997 National Poetry Series and was published by W.W. Norton. With Claudia Carlson, she co-edited the anthology The Poets' Grimm: Twentieth Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales (Story Line). For seven years she was publisher and co-editor of the literary magazine American Letters & Commentary. Beaumont teaches creative writing at Rutgers University.