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Love and Scorn: New and Selected Poems Hardcover – April 1, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Saturated in "viscera, anatomy," in chthonic desires, mythic parallels and "overwhelming regret," Frost's (Venus and Don Juan; Pure) headlong free verse displays an admirable energy, but not much formal or intellective control in this selection from seven previous books, and in two groups of new short poems. Seeking rawness and power, Frost turns to readily available storiesAGenesis, The TempestAand to other American poets who've shared her ambitions: sometimes she fails to build on her borrowed foundations; often, she fails to escape melodrama: "I've grieved and walked in catacombs," one speaker declares, "I've made myself ill with the power and the glory." (In another poem, "Burdock" explains "I'm here... to tell you there is satisfaction, even when I die.") Elsewhere, in the manner of the later Robert Penn Warren, Frost deploys fortissimo religious symbolism: figures meant for immediate shock or sublimity ("young murderers on last night's news/ went like angry angels... as if to mock the eternal Coming"), words like "extraordinary," "unsayable" and "death and joy." A long sequence of 11-line poems with abstract titles returns to categorical basics such as "Harm," "Apology," "Envy," "Sex," "Imagination" and "The Tree of Knowledge, your favorite scene": their loping, extended, abstract and unrhymed phrases will appeal to fans of C.K. Williams. If few whole poems satisfy their formal demands, many include striking bits and pieces: it will be hard to forget the key moment in "Sin," for instance, when "The blue and scarlet sky/ was gently losing its color,// as if from use." (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
Frost chooses an interesting arrangement for her ninth collection (including two chapbooks): the first section presents new poems on such subjects as Venus, the St. Louis Zoo, and the komodo dragon; the second section features only very short poems (11-19 lines); and the final section, a well-rounded introduction to her work, offers a winnowing of her earlier poems arranged alphabetically by title. In these poems, Frost combines an interest in abstract themes with elements from the natural world. Her poems work best when ideas are fleshed out with vivid imagery as in "Pear Tree": "And if in the ditch beside the pear tree I find/ a quatrefoil of buttercup/ and a deerhead/ on its stripped spine like a keyboard from a dismantled piano ." All of the shorter poems tackle intellectual themes, as their mostly one-word titles suggest: "Envy," "Harm," "Compatibility," "Apology," and "Scorn." Some of these fail to involve the reader because they deal in generalities, and the emotional distance seems too great, as in "Laws": "She knows of doom only what all women know,/ deciding not to speak of it, since speech pretends/ its course can be made to bend." But when Frost ties in these abstract themes with real-life details, the poems become more vivid and moving as in "Pure": "He saw that the white-tailed deer he shot was his son;/ it filled his eyes, his chest, his head, and horribly it bent on him." Recommended for larger poetry collections.
-Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, IN
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Let me leave you with a half dozen or so of my favorite pieces: "Waking," "Flicker," "Sin," "Pure," "Scorn," "Apple Rind," "To Kill a Deer."