Sandra Kohler's poetry shows well the distinction between domestic writing and the French l'ecriture feminine
, or writing through the body. Her poems depict female experience at its most intimate, illuminating the paradoxes and practicalities in one's sense of physical identity ("I want to tell the truth: sex is not / the final intimacy for me"). Closeness rather than distanced objectivity becomes her palette: the son dreaming in his mother's lap, the child like a moon before birth and the sun, afterwards. In their simplicity, her images reveal a naked and honest truth.
From Publishers Weekly
Kohler's debut collection offers thoughtful, probing explorations of a broad range of female experience, from frank discussions about sex to delicate variations on motherhood and artistic creativity. In the long poem, "Ars Poetica Feminae," the speaker claims, "The woman who waits for a poem/ lives in a world calling her every instant: keep me alive." Adding a filmy, lyrical tone throughout is the "metaphysics of morning," Kohler's term for the borderland between sleep and waking, which can be observed most particularly in the dawn songs she composes about herself and her young son (traditionally, such poems were about lovers parting from their bed), describing a tenderness that hurts: "The caress of angels is bruising." Kohler'scareful attention to the daily struggles and realities of many women's lives, to the predictable but mysterious cycles of time and growing older, renders with both wisdom and astonishment her conviction that "Nothing is more exotic than the real."
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