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Femme Eterna Paperback – October 6, 2014
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Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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Ms. Lifshin explores the depth and dynamism of Enheduanna, Scheherazade and Nefertiti in ways that readers will recognize as distinctly Lifshin…with poems deep, intricate and intuitive.
In the interests of full disclosure: I was the copyeditor for this book, but far from being a conflict of interest in writing this review, it made me even more cognizant of Lifshin's rare gift to compel and hypnotize her reader—during my reading of this book, I often felt as if I were under an olive tree in the midday sun, daydreaming of love and poetry.
Femme Eterna is truly one of my favorite Lifshin creations of late, and that’s saying a lot considering the vast section of my bookshelf that is reserved for her books, and it is not an understatement to say that many of her fans, including me, consider her the eternal flame of the poetry realm.
The author is not the subject here, however. Lifshin deals with each of these femmes eterna in turn, painting them in their times and places and, of occasion, stepping back to allow them their immoralities. Fans of the poet will find many of her long-time themes explored and expanded here, while those new to Lifshin's linguistic dancing will find that she can slip easily from the breathtakingly delicate to the deliciously profane from one line to the next.
Lifshin is probably America's most published poet, and ranks among the very few who have managed to make a life out of poesy, however hard the path has occasionally been. Femme Eterna marks another step in the dance she has devoted her career to, and another opportunity for her fans to join her in a tantalizing pas de deux.