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Darling: Poems Paperback – September 2, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While most of her bios list her as a poet first and foremost, Moore has published critical essays and a biography of her grandmother, the painter Margarett Sargent, in addition to her previous book of poems. This second collection sticks closely and honestly to two fields: painters and painting, and love and sex. Moore's own close attention to color and arrangement distinguish poems on work by Degas and others, and enliven others based on personal memories. One autobiographical lyric tracks "the pale gray stain/ his eyes leave in my dreams"; another juxtaposes a remembered lover with Rousseau's "Sleeping Gypsy" "I was wearing green. Nineteen./ Flat cheap light illuminates/ a male, twenty-one." Moore (whose first book of poems was called Memoir) also evokes sometimes explicitly, sometimes obliquely a great range of sexual and romantic experience, from date rape and abortion at Yale in the 1960s to lesbian love in middle age. (The collection also includes intimate elegies on family members and friends, some dead from AIDS.) Noted poet and translator Richard Howard praises Moore's "sensuous revelry" in a brief, admiring foreword, but Moore's openness and visual gestures often outrun the actual turns of phrase here: poems about the speaker's body veer into stock myth-making: "moon and/ goddess, tides and gravity,/ oh bring our blood!" Other poems remember passionate lovers with lines like these: "As we stood there, she pulled me toward her/ by the belt and thrust in with her hand"; "We met at a small supper outside Paris/ one late August"; "Dear one, I have met a man who touches me so it burns." Many readers will prize Moore's brave directness, or admire its political implications; others, however, will wonder whether the poems do justice to a complicated life. (Sept.) Forecast: Sex still sells, and this collection should be no exception. Moore is a well-known figure in the art and literary worlds, which should lead to relatively extensive coverage.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Colors ("The sky is teal, the ocean, color of a razor") form a vital lexicon of feeling in Moore's incandescent poems, a visual language inherited, perhaps, from her grandmother, the painter Margarett Sargent, the subject of Moore's evocative biography, The White Blackbird (1996). Paintings often inspire her, whether she's writing about entering the world of a specific painting, as she does in "She Remembers," written from the point of view of a woman posing nude for Degas, or the act of painting itself, as in "Bucharest, 1989," a bravura poem about the unavailability of oil paints, especially the color white. Moore writes with erotic intensity and lyric virtuosity about sexual desire for both women and men and the seductiveness of dreams and memories remembered so often they become virtual works of art kept in the most private of collections. Moore's poems are perfectly formed yet impassioned, flames confined to red-hot grates, incantations recited to transform confession and grief into liberation and warmth. Donna Seaman
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