MAPS AND WINDOWS by Jane Cooper

MAPS AND WINDOWS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This collection of early (1947-1951) and recent poems reveals Cooper as a poet of greater possibilities than her last book (The Weather of Six Mornings, 1969) suggests. Indeed, she discusses her growth in an essay; she views the failures of Weather and her previous fear of publishing from a feminist perspective as part of a struggle between self-banishment and identity. Her early works, while didactic and regular, are remarkably prophetic: she writes, ""Marriage must take her now, or the sly/inquirer inviting her to ship for his sake,"" and ""I am/ A person after all."" Moreover, these pieces show an impatience with romantic myth (""The urge to tell the truth/ Strips sensuality""), a concern with war, violence and death, and a sense of impotence (""I hesitate and can neither live nor die""). In her latest poems, she returns to these themes with an intensity and anger that underscore her declaration that their subject is ultimately survival. She tells us, ""What broke. . . is perhaps the sense that you can build your life by choice."" Images of death (""not buried/ but spilled out on the ground""), loss (""Souvenirs"") and decay (""What can I say to my body now,/ this used violin?"") prevail. One still feels a lack of alertness and authenticity, but this book demonstrates considerable growth.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Macmillan