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Comment: Pages clean. No writing. Cover with some general wear.
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Red Army Red: Poems Paperback – October 31, 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jehanne Dubrow is an assistant professor of English, creative writing, and literature at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. She is the author of three poetry collections, The Hardship Post (2009), From the Fever-World (2009), and Stateside (Northwestern, 2010).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 84 pages
  • Publisher: Triquarterly (October 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810128608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810128606
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,204,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Before I begin, I should admit to my biases. I like Jehanne Dubrow. She is a kind and intelligent person with a wonderfully irreverent sense of humor (that is very similar to mine) and I consider her a friend. But I am also a poet, and in this capacity, I have been following Jehanne's work since the release of her first collection, The Hardship Post, in 2009. Each collection of hers is a poetic study, a project. String the poems together and you will see a loose narrative formed there in between.

In Red Army Red, Cold War's Communism appropriates all shiny things for propaganda the way a teenage girl accessorizes. They are magpies at heart. Dubrow, in turn, collects these glimmering metallic details and nests poems in them. Of course, not all of these details are beautiful but they have a certain shine that draws us in anyway. In "Moscow Nights," "rose perfume...smells of piss," and another perfume smells of "pickled beets/ and turpentine." And as in the mind of a teenage girl, all of these details are sex or innuendo, "the romance of objects." Things that Communist dictators would hold just out of reach.

The first section of the book, titled "Cold War," although packed with vivid images is a stark landscape full of old objects. Not just old, but old-world. Something that the speaker has clearly outgrown. Shirts and shoes are two sizes too small and all pleasures are taken in secret.

Section two, "Velvet Revolution," is a rebellious adolescent testing the limits of her own body's dictatorship. Although taken from the actual historical context of nearby then-Czechoslovakia, the phrase taken out of time seems tailor-made to capture the melodrama of teenage rebellion, with another nod toward an adolescent's newfound fashion-consciousness.
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Pistillate flowers greet us with images of heartbeats and turpentine. Jehanne Dubrow's Red Army Red recalls a life in Poland before Solidarity and the Velvet Revolution. Recalling a time in America and the changes in Eastern Europe, She takes us through the history of a world little known in America. Her perspective on consumerism is most enlightening. Periodic metered verse sonnets punctuate the music of her free verse. Nods to Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix animate the poetry of America. The chapter titled laissez-faire might be her best. A most rewarding book.

Allen Hagar
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