The Boston Globe
writes that Elizabeth Spires's poetry is characterized by "simplicity, conviction and grace." These virtues are present in most of these poems, but are especially powerful in "Theatre of Pain," Spires's account of giving birth to her daughter. She writes: "In the theatre of pain where all things are born / and brought into the light, / I found myself one night, the world contracting / to a dream of world ..." A paradox: Spires captures, with a realistic quality, the dreamy and unreal feeling that can pervade life's most intense moments. (It's not for nothing that she's been compared to Elizabeth Bishop!) From the microcosm of birth to the larger world, Elizabeth Spires's writing is hypnotic and passionate.
From Library Journal
The poems in this eerily beautiful collection tackle the weighty themes of birth, death, change, and immortality. ("I have had a child. Now I must live with death," writes Spires on her daughter's birth.) Even so, she has a gossamer touch that draws the reader into the compelling rhythm of her struggle to come to terms with her own life ("Why am I here?" Why?), her maternal desire to hold fast to her child's infancy ("Let the children's game never end.../Let everything remain as it is!"), and her own childish wish to "stop all change and keep me/as I was; a child with a store of endless days." In the volume's final poem, the striking "Life Everlasting," the poet imagines having a choice between immortality and mortality, "the everlasting present of our life." With maturity's wisdom, she chooses the latter: "Our only paradise is here,/and we are rich as misers, rich in change!/We hold in our empty hands a currency of days/that we must spend down to the very last." Recommended for contemporary poetry collections.?Christine Stenstrom, Brooklyn P.L. New York
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