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Stateside: Poems Paperback – March 29, 2010
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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
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jehanne Dubrow held a contest/giveaway on her blog recently and I won a copy of her book of poetry entitled Stateside. Read morePublished on May 13, 2011 by Tethys
Author of two previous books, From the Fever-World, (Washington Writers' Publishing House) and The Hardship Post (Three Candles Press) and a chapbook of poetry, The Promised Bride... Read morePublished on April 13, 2011 by laura madeline wiseman