From Publishers Weekly
This debut volume of tough, complex poems employs a unique blend of scary folktale imagery, American plain speech and a planed-down formalism in creating a indirect, cumulative portrait of a Vermont woman living alone in middle-age. Retrospective thoughts on marriage and raising a daughter provide the impetus for many of the poems, which then take off into the murky territory of self-reckoning. "Death of the Air" paradoxically begins hopefully: "Are we short spells in our heads, or what?/ Tired out chasing, selves bed down./ Wind lays snow in skeins around,/ Tugs and overlaps, nest-building./ All night the covered shells mend" and invites the sleeping town to "Dream courtships/ in moonskins." Poems about stars ("Here"; "Blue Light"; "Space Raptures") make this oldest of genres yield fresh existential terror and charge. "A Witch," "Immaterial" and "Questioning the Sex Killer" ("Anyway, he'd checked it out &/ it was what they'd suspected,/ women! ?women just/ opened & spilled") call on a second-wave feminist directness, and are infused with a capacious irony?and, elsewhere, eros?that undergirds the message. Like Alice Fulton (whose quirky phrases some lines recall), Zweig can be funny, as in the opening of "Sick Day": "Mama, I came down/ pup-sick among the bureaucrats!"?or of "Fidelity": "Little indeed to say about the sex part." This debut, unlike so many others, arrives with purpose, force and clarity.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
paper 0-8195-6359-5 The debut volume of this Vermont-based poet frequently apostrophizes the both reader and the poet herself, giving warning in often cryptic little poems of sneaky death and the impermanence of things. Zweig affects a childlike voice and relies on a simple vocabulary for verse that flirts with nonsense; her cramped syntax and odd diction result in enigmatic poems that often turn the commonplace into objects of wonder and fear. At their hypnotic best, Zweigs poems break into song, fractured childrens ditties in which a bedtime kiss or night-time darkness provide no consolation. The poets antisentimental imagination resists putting the joy noise into words; for all her girlish surfaces and dreams of stars and moons, she lingers on harsher realities. As the title poem makes clear, even bones soften and rejoin man to woman, a relationship that provides little happiness throughout the volume. Sex may be the only way for children (No Child), but love seldom lasts (Percussive and Spooked). At the shore, in Fidelity, the speaker considers the best of love to be something not human at all. While the poet cannot console her own child, she also finds little guidance from her mother, who, after death, appears in her dreams as the Death Escort. More scary than sexy: frank and disillusioned verse that raids childrens songs and phrases to gather up its light surfaces. But Zweigs darker self finds hermetic wisdom in the language of stones and bones. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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