A HUSBAND'S NOTES ABOUT HER: Fictions by Eve Merriam


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An intermittently effective group of poems and recitatives which plumb the psyche of a contemporary Lib-aware wife through an abstracted, even lazily caricatured male consciousness: ""It was traffic/or the boss kept me/but she looks at me/ like she's finding lipstick on my collar."" To work through the husband's irritation, fear, and final illumination, Merriam ranges from comic notations to some cool sermonizing. She burlesques such familiar routines as a bedroom standoff: ""let's go/let's get it over with/ let's drive the kids to the beach and hurry up and swim. . . ."" Or she hurls clichÉs like dinner plates, as in a poem which pairs women and gay men: ""Some nice man will take me in so long as I snuggle up to him./ Me too./ So long as I roll over wag my tail and play tricks./ Me too."" Some of the erotic verse is whole in imagery and commanding to the ear: ""Whatever I give she/ takes/ and many times/ it is almost enough."" However, although Merriam's prose inventions are often diverting, the hortatory strain takes over, leaving one wondering where among the Lib placards featuring Man and Woman one can find such a one man, one woman.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1976
Publisher: Macmillan