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Stateside: Poems Paperback – March 29, 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In Jehanne Dubrow's Stateside, the formalities of structure--rhyme and meter--play against the formalities imposed upon the life of a military wife. There are poems in marching meters and poems that provide counterpoint to those rhythms, but, most of all, hers is a fully experienced suite, fully composed in every sense of that word, both intimate and public, an accomplished book.  She is a contemporary Penelope whose tale is epic. --Sam Hamill
  

About the Author

Jehanne Dubrow is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Stateside (TriQuarterly, 2010). Her work has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, Ploughshares, The New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Washington College, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Triquarterly (March 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810152142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810152144
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,379,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Susan McLean on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Many excellent poetry books deal with war from the point of view of the participants, but rarely does one find an examination of the life of the military spouse left behind during deployment. Stateside by Jehanne Dubrow is a gripping, thoughtful, and unsparing portrait of the author's responses to separation, anxiety, stress, longing, and the often prickly friction of reunion.

The book has three sections, which are roughly divided into before, during, and after the deployment. In the first section, Dubrow catalogues the fears, dreams, and preparations before her husband's departure. In the nightmarish sonnet "Against War Movies" she runs through all the war movies she has seen, imagining that she sees her husband in every character who is killed: "Each movie is a training exercise, / a scenario for how my husband dies." In the second section, Dubrow uses The Odyssey as a lens for viewing her life while her husband is gone, but this Penelope diets, gets a new haircut, fends off passes from divorcés, walks the dog Argos, takes Telemachus to the mall. Both of the first two sections are highly effective, but my favorite is the third section, which faces up unblinkingly to the difficulties of re-entry after a long absence, each spouse newly awkward around the other.

The feelings are both raw and nuanced in these poems, and Dubrow's technical mastery of the wide variety of forms--blank verse, rhymed quatrains, triplets, couplets, sonnets, nonce forms--acts as a sort of protective gear for handling potentially explosive emotions. Her approach to form is flexible, often using loose rhythms and slant rhymes. Thought and feeling do not cancel each other out in the poems, but pull against each other with a tension that also creates a bridge
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Format: Paperback
I read this book from the perspective of a military spouse who has experienced deployment. I could not put the book down -- I had to stay up to read it all in one sitting. The poems resonated deeply with me. Dubrow expresses beautifully and accurately the churn of emotions that a spouse experiences, from the time that one receives the news of the impending separation and the preparation that goes along with it, to the realities of life during the deployment and the anxiety that goes along with it, to the re-adjustment of a husband and wife learning to live together again. The poems skillfully reflect how deployment changes our perspective on daily routines and the coping mechanisms that we develop to get through it. Dubrow also ties her emotions to the experiences of so many women throughout history. Her poems serve as a reminder that war, and the families that are left behind, is a phenomenon that been going on for hundreds of years. Although the world, and wars themselves, have changed significantly, the emotional struggles of the family members who remain "stateside" have not changed all that much.

I very much enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it. It will be on my recommendation list for any family that is preparing for deployment, has experienced deployment, or anyone who wants to understand what it is like for those of us who love and support those who serve on the frontlines in our military.
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Jehanne Dubrow's Stateside is a wonderful collection. This poet's exquisite formal poetry seems especially appropriate in a collection about the traditional subject of war, a subject that, sadly, is as relevant today as it was when Homer composed his epic poems. Dubrow gives us the story of modern warfare from the perspective of a military wife left stateside during the months of her husband's deployment. Stateside is the personal side, the woman's side of war.

The collection's forty-three poems are divided into three loosely chronological sections. Part I precedes the husband's departure. The wife experiences anxiety over the coming separation and her husband's safety. The poems in Part II focus on Homer's Penelope, the traditional model of a military wife left behind by her husband in time of war. But this is a Penelope transported into modern times. The speaker imagines Penelope, identifies with her, and speaks for her. The poems in Part III occur after the husband's return. Now the wife must become wife again. The marriage is strained by the effects of war and the long separation.

Stateside is both a delicate and a forceful collection. The story rings familiar, but is told anew. The poems are beautifully and skillfully written. Dubrow has a remarkable facility with forms. They are handled with such deftness and grace that the reader is barely aware of their presence. This collection simultaneously satisfies the reader's intellect and pierces the heart.
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Format: Paperback
Although "Stateside" has a military/Navy orientation, it is equally applicable to the U.S. Foreign Service/diplomacy or, indeed, for all of those who in the 21st century find their professions cause extended separation. Ms Dubrow plays honestly with her readers: these are real events before/during/after a deployment or "hardship assignment." But although sometimes the tone is sober, in other poems it is light-hearted, e.g., "Penople, on a Diet" touching the reality that eating alone can mean over-eating alone.

In a society that once put poets in the front rank of literature (Keats, Shelley, Poe, Whitman, Frost), they are now, more often than not, a niche market. "Stateside" and Ms Dubrow demonstrate why poetry should return to societal prominence.
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