NEW SHOES by Kathleen Fraser


Email this review


Kathleen Fraser's second collection of poems has many of the characteristics of her first: heavy use of a long, airy line; emotional subject matter; and a philosophical perspective from which she analyzes the events of her life. Unfortunately, few of the poems hold up. The breathy lines do not create the expansive effect intended, but make for distracting whimsical asides, as in ""Notes to Lyn, Shimmin Ridge, Two Years Later"": ""I could hear my neighbors walking up and down their steps/ carrying brown paper bags full of food/ I watched from behind the shades When a friend came to my door/ I sat listening to her knuckle against wood/ She needed to kill time. . . ."" Not that central issues are made clear: vague description and cryptic imagery preclude precision. Even two long series of poems, one in the form of journal entries by an imaginary woman, the other based on the paintings of Magritte, lack focus and force. All in all, Fraser seems to have produced an extension of her first book; but in the process of covering old ground, she has lost a distinguishable, interesting voice.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row