From Publishers Weekly
A much-revered English poet makes her American debut with this subtle and consistently polished collection, whose title refers not just to a cold Belarussian capital but to cold hearts and cold shoulders close to home. Greenlaw's brilliantly downcast opening sequence describes a frustrating smalltown childhood, lived "in a quiet place/ where the undiluted dark of the streets/ without streetlight, had no emphasis." Poems about piano lessons, kids' antics aimed "smack dab in the village eye," "anhedonia" and a young adult's struggles in London give Greenlaw's careful and sympathetic take on what appears to be her own biography, while similarly deft poems chronicle medieval and fairy tale lives that resemble her own or seek parallels in mythology and zoology. A closing sequence (called, for the prevalent ice, "A Drink of Glass") follows the poet's trip to the Arctic Circle. Often compared to Elizabeth Bishop, Greenlaw is also a talented novelist (Mary George of Allnorthover
), and the quiet triumphs show both her Bishop-like subtlety and her talent for compressed narrative. (Apr.)
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"Greenlaw''s poems are dreams of travel and longing for home-- they have the clarity and purity one associates with cold air." (Time
"Greenlaw writes precisely and without inflation about memory, family, travel and art." (New York Sun
"A solid treasure of poems...essential" (Orlando Sentinel