WELCOME EUMENIDES by Eleanor Ross Taylor


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Ms. Taylor's first volume of poems, Wilderness of Ladies, won immoderate praise from no less than the late Randall Jarrell who designated her a kind of Jeanne d'Arc of the daily lot, expositor of the ""state of siege"" and ""last extremities"" which characterize much of female experience. Here she adopts the vantage of the nurse, giving full weight to the paradoxes of that awareness -- the healer who knows better than any who is beyond help; the comforter who faces down timeless enormities from a position circumscribed not least of all by her sex. This theme of ironic mediation is developed at length in the title poem (""Eumenides,"" a ""placatory euphemism"" for the furies), written in the persona of Florence Nightingale; via her heroine, Ms. Taylor negotiates several levels at once -- social, historical, dramatic -- with economy and a brave grace. Shorter dramatic monologues and lyrics treat comparable subjects in terms that are alternately regional, urbane, or richly meditative; and in all these idioms she demonstrates the same discernment and subtle control of her effects. This is volume three of Braziller's relatively new and decidedly noteworthy poetry series. The introduction, again, is by Richard Howard.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
Publisher: Braziller