GATHERING THE TRIBES by Carolyn ForchÉ

GATHERING THE TRIBES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Carolyn ForchÉ's poems reach out in many directions for a gathering of tribes--to the Pueblo Indians she has lived among; to the ethnic wisdom of her Slovak grandmother, Anna, who is a powerful presence here; to Joey, the boy who left her for the seminary; and finally, through love-making, to a new affirmation of womanhood. ForchÉ, who is also a linguist, uses words as organic entities, setting them out like root vegetables in short, stolid lines. And though Stanley Kunitz, in his introduction, calls her ""Kalaloch"" possibly ""the outstanding Sapphic poem of an era,"" she is not programmatic or stridently ""confessional"" but forthrightly earthy ("". . . . her long/hair wiped my legs, with women/there is sucking"" . . . ""I like that you/ cover your teeth""). And at her best, ForchÉ combines a storyteller's timing with the pragmatism of a mystic, as when ""Burning the Tomato Worms"" becomes a kind of ceremony linking her own sexual initiation with a memorial for the grandmother who ""pulled babushkas and rosary beads/ On which she paid for all of us. . . She would take gladiolas to the priest/ Like sword sprouts they fumed near her bed."" This year's Yale Younger Poet combines a distinctly individual voice with a passion for seeing beauty and ugliness as a whole vision. Her first volume justifies Kunitz' enthusiasm and announces a distinct new presence.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1976
ISBN: 0300019858
Publisher: Yale Univ. Press