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Traveling Light: Poems Hardcover – January 31, 2011
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TRAVELING LIGHT presents verses about nature's blooms and creatures, the passage of time both objective and subjective, loved ones not beside us, and a confluence of ordinary and literary things. Poking fun at her own habitual pre-punctuality, Linda Pastan also ribs a poetry event questioner who haplessly asked, " 'Did you write / your Emily Dickinson poem because you like her work, / or because you know her personally' " but ends up kinder to the other person than to herself. She writes ten poignant lines about September 11 and how it was first an "anniversary / of love" before before "history's dirty thumbprint stain[ed] the calendar." A ghost, lilacs, cows, acorns, Bob Dylan, and time travel all receive the unique attentions of Pastan. So do silence, forests, and Times Square in 1944.
This collection presents commonplace tangibles as signposts to more ephemeral insights. Many poets do the same in their works, but can come across as studied and pretentious. Pastan seems at ease with her craft, as though the poems flow like a bubbling stream. Three stanzas about bread, for instance, fill the reader with a sense of its "perfect tenderness" and agreement that "bread is / the universal language, translatable / on the famished tongue." One cannot be famished after ingesting Pastan's poetic nourishment.
And it is wrapped with insight
Yet as you unwrap each of her poems
You never quite know what to expect
Except the magic of her words
That reveal themselves under the careful
And loving hand of a gardener
Using her trowel to clear the way
For the seeds that will blossom
While having the impact
Of a back-hoe tractor
In opening up new ground.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I heard a poem of Linda Pastan's on Writer's Almanac and read several on line. They were so good that I orderd this book immediately and have not been disappointed. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Vivian A. Davis