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Roleplay Paperback – July 2, 2012

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Dream Horse Press (July 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935716166
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935716167
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,742,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I absolutely loved reading 'Roleplay'. The poems are imaginative yet accessible, sometimes dark but often funny. Juliana Gray's work would be classified as formalist, I suppose: she likes regular meter, and enjoys working with traditional forms (sonnets, triolets, etc.). But for me what distinguishes these poems isn't just, or even mainly, her formal virtuosity (although this is considerable); it's the unique voice that runs through the collection: intelligent, caustic, self-deprecating, yet also vulnerable, and in the end grateful for the things that enrich experience, even though the pleasure they bring comes bound up with pain.
One thing I especially liked was that many of the poems get away from subjectivity, the mere reporting of how the poet felt on a certain occasion. There are poems that imagine Nancy Drew posting a personal ad., how it would be to be married to Phillip Larkin, and the devil planning a day of subtly damaging people's souls (Among other things, he will
Judge a pile of poetry manuscripts;
award the prize to the emptiest, the most
abstract; to others, scratch a note. So close!
One section of the book consists of poems occasioned by Hitchcock films. Some of these might be best appreciated by Hitch devotees who can easily recall the scenes referenced. But I'm pretty ignorant of Hitchcock, and I still thoroughly enjoyed them since they generally start out with some element in a film and then pursue their own train of thought.
I bought Roleplay along with Linda Pastan's new collection, 'Travelling Light.' Both volumes are excellent; but although I'm a big Linda Pastan fan, I'd have to say I prefer Roleplay. The perspectives are more original, the themes are more varied, and the language is sharper. It's a wonderful book! It now sits proudly and not unworthily on my shelf between Robert Graves and Homer.
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