BITE EVERY SORROW by Barbara Ras

BITE EVERY SORROW

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KIRKUS REVIEW

C.K. Williams picked this undistinguished first volume for last year's Walt Whitman Award, and it shares with Williams a tendency to run-on in long lines that freely associate with equally elongated similes. Ras, an editor at the University of Georgia Press, celebrates the abundances of domestic life in poems about her thoughtful husband and cherished daughter, whose name invokes her equally beloved namesake: The poet's Polish-born grandmother, who, in a number of poems, endures the challenges of a new country. Though Ras knows ""you can't have it all,"" she accepts her privileges with grace, and contemplates the sufferings of ""the unfortunates"" (hoboes, ""black kids,"" etc.), and also ruminates on death while traveling on San Francisco's BART, and later on a bus, where she laments ""leisure and progress, the American Way"" of things. Poems written about the tropics speak of ""banana-y' light, and find her yearning for snow as she elsewhere mourns the lost ""ooooo's of innocence."" A long sequence of ""sadnesses"" (of puppies, bodies, money, etc.) drowns in emotion, though Ras finds a surprising clarity in angels and insects, the subjects of some uncharacteristically terse poems in this otherwise drab debut.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0807122645
Page count: 88pp
Publisher: Louisiana State Univ.